There are five categories of crime in America. These categories include felonies, misdemeanors, offenses, treason and espionage and inchoate offenses. A felony is considered a very serious crime in the USA, as well as many other countries. A felony is a crime which is punishable by death (lethal injection, electric chair, etc) or imprisonment of more than one year. There are some instances in which a crime can be considered a felony or a misdemeanor (which I will get into shortly), depending on the severity of the crime and the circumstances of which it was committed. An example of this type of situation would be carrying a gun while walking down the street or carrying a gun into a government building. In most cases, you would be charged with a misdemeanor. However, if you carry into a government building you will be charged with a felony regardless of your intentions. In some states, such as Indiana, felonies are classified according to their severity and punishment. These classifications are generally called class A, B, C, and D; with A being the worst and D being the least serious. Other states classify felonies numerically as 1st degree, 2nd degree, etc.
When a crime is punishable by exactly one year or less, it is classified as a misdemeanor. A misdemeanor is considered to be much less severe than a felony and is typically punished with a fine to the court. These crimes normally do not result in civil rights loss, but they can result in the loss of certain priveleges related to the crime. If a person is caught drinking and driving, they may receive either a small jail sentence or a fine, as well as loss of their drivers license for a given period of time.
As stated by Wikipedia, “an offense is a violation of the penal law.” Offenses can range from something as simple as rolling through a stop sign to something as severe as murder or child molestation. The term ‘offense’ means that there is usually no victim involved, but the act was still illegal....
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