29 Sep No Comments Arnold & Kangas Legal Questions & Answers

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What is the difference between a felony and a misdemeanor in Massachusetts? Does it have to do with whether you can go to jail or not if you get convicted or is it some other factor? Thanks.


Per Massachusetts statute  “A crime punishable by death or imprisonment in the state prison is a felony. All other crimes are misdemeanors.”  However, there is much more to consider than simply the felony/misdemeanor classification, for example:

A defendant can receive a continuance without a finding of any guilt on a drunk driving charge and yet if charged again would be treated as a repeat offender.

Many licenses and background records checks do not differentiate between felony and misdemeanor.

Today the import issue is not the characterization of the nature of the crime but the penalties and potential implications for a defendant now and down the road.

The Massachusetts Criminal Defense attorneys at our law firm represent clients throughout Massachusetts and the Boston Metrowest region including Concord, Carlisle, Acton, Boxborough, Harvard, Bolton, Sudbury, Stow, Lexington, Bedford, Littleton, Lincoln, Waltham, Boston, Cambridge, Watertown, Wayland, Westford, and Middlesex County in Massachusetts.