The short answer is that a misdemeanor is punished by less than a year in prison, and a felony is punished by one year in prison or more. Because class ‘A’ misdemeanors are punished by less than twelve months in jail, they are often referred to as 11-29 offenses, which is short for 11 months and 29 days (one day less than one year on prison). In Memphis, misdemeanors are usually handled in the General Sessions Criminal Court. Felonies are only in the General Sessions Court for about two months, and then move into the Criminal Court (known in rural jurisdictions as the Circuit Court).

There are three levels of misdemeanor offenses in Tennessee: Classes A, B, and C. There are six levels of felony offenses in Tennessee: A, B, C, D, E, and M, which is the classification for first-degree murder punishable by life in prison or a capital sentence. Each classification of offenses carries a different range of punishment, and the attorneys of the Working Law Firm can help you no matter what the charge.

Felonies often carry additional penalties that can have longer lasting consequences. First, any person convicted of a felony can no longer carry any firearm, or even ammunition. This even prohibits possession of a hunting rifle. Possessing a firearm as a felon is a separate crime in both state and federal court carrying up to ten years in prison. A felony also means a loss of voting rights. Voting as a convicted felon is also a separate crime, however, voting rights can eventually be restored with the help of an attorney filing the proper paperwork.

A felony conviction can also make it extremely difficult to get a job especially in a licensed profession. Careers from being a masseuse or cosmetologist, to an accountant or insurance agent require that the State perform a background check and determine that the candidate being licensed is of suitable character. The licensing process can be very difficult with a felony conviction and will probably also require the help of an attorney.

Although felonies usually carry more serious long-term consequences, certain misdemeanors convictions can also have a serious future impact. Any domestic violence conviction also carries a revocation of gun ownership rights. A drug conviction, even a misdemeanor marijuana conviction can render a person ineligible to receive student loans for a college education.

Whether you are facing felony or misdemeanor charges, hire the attorneys of the Working Law Firm to protect your freedom, and your future.