Crimes are classified as either Misdemeanors or Felonies, with Felonies being more serious than Misdemeanors. The main difference between the two in terms of punishment is that with a Misdemeanor, you can’t be incarcerated for more than a year. The prosecutor can’t send you to prison for a Misdemeanor, but you can be incarcerated in the county jail.
Misdemeanors are classified into two types: 1st Degree and 2nd Degree. A 2nd Degree misdemeanor means the punishment cannot exceed 60 days in Jail and a $500 fine. A 1st Degree Misdemeanor means the punishment cannot exceed 1 year in jail and a $1,000 dollar fine.
Felonies are classified into 3 types: First Degree, 2nd Degree, and 3rd Degree. A Third Degree felony means the punishment cannot not exceed 5 years in the Department of Corrections and a $1,000 fine. A Second Degree felony means that the punishment cannot exceed 15 years in the Department of Corrections and a $5,000 fine. A First Degree felony means that the punishment cannot exceed 30 years in the Department of Corrections except when the statute applies a life sentence and a $10,000 dollar fine. A Life Felony means a punishment of life in prison and a $15,000 dollar fine, and a Capital Felony means death or life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Please note that certain changes to the aforementioned punishments apply under certain applicable statutes.