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Missouri criminal defense: Misdemeanor versus felony

Missouri residents who have been charged with crimes may feel uneasy about the future. After all, having a criminal record is no small thing. It is something that can follow a person for the rest of his or her life. That is why having a skilled criminal defense attorney on one's side when facing either a misdemeanor or felony charge is so important.

How are misdemeanor and felony charges different? The level at which a charge is filed comes down to the seriousness of the crime. A misdemeanor charge is the lesser of the two. A misdemeanor is a type of crime that the state believes deserves punishment, but not enough to totally destroy one's life. Typical penalties include some level of jail term -- usually up to one year -- or minimal fines.

Felony charges are reserved for those whose crimes the state believes are very serious in nature. A few examples of felony crimes include drug trafficking, kidnapping, assault and robbery -- among many others. Those convicted on felony-level charges may face lengthy prison terms and have to pay hefty fines. Such consequences can drastically alter the course of one's life.

Fighting misdemeanor or felony-level charges can prove difficult. However, the burden of proof lies on the prosecuting attorneys. A criminal defense attorney can help Missouri residents, regardless if they are facing misdemeanor or felony charges, by reviewing all available defense options and pursuing legal courses that will best serve their interests. As all criminal cases are unique, it will be the attorney's job to identify the best way to approach the situation so that it benefits the client.

Source: FindLaw, "What Distinguishes a Misdemeanor From a Felony?", Accessed on Nov. 29, 2017

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