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What are the categories of criminal charges?

If you are facing criminal charges in Georgia, it is essential that you understand the crimes you are charged with. You also must know what category of crime you are being charged with. The different categories of crimes will typically determine the sentence you could face and how a conviction may affect you for the rest of your life.

According to the University of Minnesota, the least severe crime is an infraction. This is something that is minor and does not carry a harsh sentence. Typically, if you are found guilty of an infraction, you will pay a fine or have to go through an alternative sentencing program. 

The next category based on severity is misdemeanors. These crimes may carry jail time and fines. However, the maximum time served for such a crime is a year. You also would not go to prison to serve this sentence. Instead, you would serve your time at a county jail. You may also not serve jail time at all and be punished with probation or community service. 

Felonies are the most severe crime category. They do carry prison time. Capital crimes, those which you can be sentenced to death for, fall under this category. However, not all felony charges will result in prison time. You could only get probation or be put under house arrest. It depends on the crime, the sentencing conditions and the judge’s opinion. Being convicted of a felony, though, does put further social restrictions on you. You cannot work in certain industries nor own a gun, and your voting privileges may be revoked for a period of time or forever in some cases.