Felony Versus Misdemeanor

 In Criminal Defense

Felonies & Misdemeanors

In Georgia, crimes are either a misdemeanor or felony.  Misdemeanors are less serious offenses and are punishable by a fine of less than $1,000 and up to one year in jail.  Felonies are punishable by a fine more than $1,000 and at least one year in jail.

Some offenses can be classified as a felony or a misdemeanor based on the circumstances.  For example, a Theft by Shoplifting is a misdemeanor if the merchandise taken is less than $500.  However, if the merchandise is $500 or more, then it’s a felony.  A fourth or subsequent Theft by Shoplifting conviction is a felony regardless of whether or not the prior convictions are felonies or misdemeanors.  Other theft offenses have a higher threshold; if the item taken has a value of $1,500 or less, then it’s a misdemeanor.  If the item taken has a value of $1,500.01 or more, then it’s a felony.  Also, a DUI is usually a misdemeanor.  However, if a DUI involves serious injury or death or it’s a fourth offense (in ten years), then it is a felony.

Also, a battery is a misdemeanor, but there are special rules for family violence cases.  “Family Violence” is defined as a crime between current or former spouses, parents of the same child, parents and children, stepparents and stepchildren, foster parents and foster children, and persons currently or formerly living in the same household. If the victim is any of these persons and you have a prior Battery (Family Violence) conviction, then the second offense is a felony.  Also,  cases involving strangulation or choking the victim are considered a felony in Georgia.


Common misdemeanors in Georgia

  • Affray (fighting)
  • Criminal Trespass
  • Disorderly Conduct
  • Giving a False Name
  • Loitering or Prowling
  • Possession of Marijuana less than an Ounce
  • Prostitution
  • Public Drunkenness
  • Reckless Conduct


Common felonies in Georgia

  • Aggravated Assault
  • Aggravated Battery
  • Aggravated Sexual Battery
  • Aggravated Sodomy
  • Armed Robbery
  • Arson
  • Burglary
  • Criminal Damage to Property
  • False Imprisonment
  • False Statement
  • Murder
  • Hijacking a Motor Vehicle
  • Identity Fraud
  • Kidnapping
  • Possession of Drugs With Intent to Distribute
  • Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon
  • Possession of a Firearm or Weapon During the Commission of a Crime
  • Possession of Tools Used in a Crime
  • Terroristic Threats or Acts
  • Trafficking
  • Voluntary Manslaughter
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