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Classifications of Crimes

On Behalf of | Jul 15, 2018 | Firm News

Criminal behavior is something that many of us are familiar with, simply from watching TV. News outlets feature it and many hit shows revolve around it, and yet, most people aren’t aware of the details of criminal law classifications. Whether or not you’ve been accused of a crime, it can be helpful to know what actions are considered criminal, and what kinds of punishments are associated with them.

While the laws are slightly different in each state, these are the three general categories of crimes recognized by the law:

  • Infraction

Also known as a petty offense, an infraction is a violation of some kind of administrative or municipal rule, or a local ordinance. This is the least serious category, and generally does not involve major punishment. In many states, infractions aren’t even considered crimes, and are typically processed in civil courts. Chances are good that you, or someone you know, has been cited with an infraction. Some examples of infractions include:

  • Some types of traffic violations
  • Littering
  • Jaywalking
  • Public drinking
  • Building code violations
  • Disturbing the peace
  • Fishing or hunting without a license
  • Misdemeanor

This is the largest category of crime- misdemeanors are less serious than felonies, but more serious than infractions. Most misdemeanors are punishable by fine and/or jail time, and are usually broken into four categories, known as Class 1 or A (most severe), 2/B, 3/C, and 4/D (least severe). Depending on the severity of the crime, punishments can range from minimal fines, to up to a year in jail. There is a lot of gray area in misdemeanor law. Some of the crimes in this category include:

  • DUI
  • Burglary
  • Perjury
  • Some types of assault
  • Resisting arrest
  • Some drug possession charges
  • Graffiti
  • Prostitution
  • Disorderly conduct
  • Some types of property damage
  • Felony

Felonies are the most serious class of crime, and often come with serious consequences- often fines and imprisonment of a year or more. Having a felony on your record can negatively impact your employment, housing, immigration status, and other important aspects of your life. Like with misdemeanors, felonies are broken into categories based on their severity. Here are some examples of felony crimes:

  • Murder
  • Rape
  • Armed robbery
  • Child pornography
  • Arson
  • Embezzlement
  • Kidnapping
  • Extortion
  • Drug trafficking

If you have been charged with a crime, because there are many different categories and punishments, it’s critical that you work with a qualified criminal defense attorney in Greensboro. Only an experienced lawyer can help you reduce your sentencing and the negative impacts of your criminal charges. Reach out to us at the law office of E.J. Boswell today and ask for your free consultation.