June 24, 2017

What is the difference between a felony and a misdemeanor in Massachusetts?

Additional Information:

Does it have to do with whether you can go to jail or not if you get convicted or not or is it some other factor? Thanks.

ATTORNEY ANSWER:

The definition of a felony in MA is any crime that carries the potential penalty of at least 1 year in state prison.  Every other offense is a misdemeanor.  A misdemeanor can only carry the potential for a house of correction sentence.  The maximum sentence under a misdemeanor is 2.5 years in the house of correction.  The maximum penalty under a felony is life imprisonment.  So to determine whether something is a felony or a misdemeanor you need to look at the potential penalty for the crime under the statute. Felonies also often carry collateral consequences that misdemeanors do not.  For example being convicted of a felony may prohibit you from voting, will require you to submit a DNA sample to the state, may prohibit you from entry into the military, prohibit you from visiting a jail or house of correction, prohibit you from obtaining a license to carry a firearm or FID card, may effect your ability to obtain employment, may cause your deportation denial of naturalization or exclusion from the United States or other collateral consequences.

Riddle & Associates’ criminal defense lawyers serve the Central Massachusetts region including the areas of Lunenburg, Leominster, Fitchburg, Worcester, Gardner, Clinton, Bolton, Lancaster, Berlin, Acton, Concord, Greenfield, West Boylston, Marlborough, Northborough, Westborough, Groton, Shirley, Pepperell, Townsend, Ashby, Winchendon, Ashburnham, Templeton, Princeton, Ayer, Harvard, Worcester County, Middlesex County, Franklin County and surrounding communities in Massachusetts.

RIDDLE & ASSOCIATES, ATTORNEYS AT LAW
Worcester County Criminal Defense Lawyers
603 Massachusetts Avenue, Suite 2
Lunenburg, Massachusetts