Not all crimes are committed equal. In fact, there are actually three levels of crime in the U.S., each increasing in scale of severity and punishable variables. Infractions are the first tier and usually don’t involve more than a ticket. The offenses we will be discussing at length in this article, however, are misdemeanors and felonies; detailing the difference between the two, including jail time and other penalties.
Although the penalties for infractions are typically light, it’s still worth mentioning. Infractions usually come in the form of a ticket and infer that you are breaking the law, but the offense you are committing is not one that necessarily threatens the safety of the public. So think traffic infractions, community bylaws, and occurrences of that nature.
Infractions come with little-to-no court time and are hardly taken to the extent where jail time would need to be served. These are warnings to citizens to improve on whatever violation they have breached, usually enforced with a fine.
Misdemeanors are a step up from simple infractions. They can also be punishable with a fine but can carry up to one year or more in prison depending on the offense. Driving offenses such as not carrying insurance or operating a vehicle without a license are examples of misdemeanor offenses that can carry a fine. Other more serious driving offenses such as reckless driving, driving under the influence of alcohol, or hit-and-run offenses carry a more serious penalty, including heftier fines and the potential to spend time in jail.
It is likely that any jail time due to misdemeanors would be served at a local community jail, rather than a maximum security prison. But again, this depends on the offense and the intent of the accused.
The name alone suggests the severity of these infractions. These are far from routine traffic stops. Felonies conclude that a serious offense has been committed, one that endangered someone’s life, threatened the security of an individual or even a nation, or something that attempted to defraud the government.
Crimes such as assault, robbery, rape or domestic violence, fraud and/or embezzlement—all serious offenses—would fall under the category of a felony. Theft or violating an already established protective order are grounds for a felony charge as well, in addition to an obvious one like murder.
PCS Bail Bonds has been serving the Fort Worth, Texas community for over 25 years now. We’ve seen and handled individuals involved in all types of offenses ranging from simple traffic infractions all the way to murder. Understanding the level of infraction is key to setting a fair bail amount. Both judges and prosecutors understand this notion well.