All crimes committed are in some fashion a violation of the United States firm legal code. That being said, because the breadth of the legal field is so vast, the classifications of all crimes are categorized as either felonies or misdemeanors. The primary difference between a misdemeanor vs. a felony is that the two hold distinct punishments and issues regarding severity.
In general, a misdemeanor is a violation of a meager crime. Misdemeanors typically do not involve violent actions or crimes that cause great harm to a society. As a result of these characteristics, a misdemeanor is considered an act that is more serious than a petty offense, but significantly less severe than a felony action. Common forms of misdemeanors include: resisting arrest, simple battery, shoplifting, public intoxication, and in some states possession and use of marijuana.
Although a misdemeanor is regarded as less severe than a felony, the level to which the act was committed will necessitate different punishments. For example, the charge associated with an act of burglary will depend on the good stolen. If the individual steals a pack of gum it will be considered petty larceny (misdemeanor). However, if the individual steals a car, the act is considered grand theft auto, which is a felony. Typically, the punishments associated with a misdemeanor charge will result in hefty fines or a short jail sentence.
In contrast, a felony is a serious crime, such as rape, murder, kidnapping, grand theft auto, or assault with a deadly weapon. Convicted felons will undoubtedly face jail time. The Federal Government states that a felony is any act that carries a minimum one-year prison sentence.
Convicted felons have restrictions placed on their rights. Convicted felons cannot own guns, serve in the military, serve on juries, or vote in elections. In general, the primary difference between a misdemeanor and a felony is that felonies are serious crimes that carry strict punishments and disable a multitude of personal rights.