Infractions, Misdemeanors, and Felonies: What To Know

criminal defense attorney bossier city

Crimes are often classified into three categories depending on their severity. They can either be infractions, misdemeanors, or felonies, with infractions being the least serious and felonies being the most serious offenses. These types may be further categorized into different classes or levels. The punishments and procedures of criminal offenses differ based on these classifications, so it’s essential to know how to distinguish them.

Infractions: What Are They, and What Are the Punishments?

When it comes to crimes, infractions or violations rank as the least serious offenses. This occurs when a person violates a rule, ordinance, or law. As petty offenses, infarctions do not appear on criminal records. However, they can turn into more serious crimes if left unpaid or unaddressed. Some common examples of infractions are traffic violations and other minor crimes, such as littering or trespassing.

Most jurisdictions do not place jail sentences or even probations as punishment for these crimes, and they’re typically rectified by fines. Because of this, you will not be entitled to a jury trial. The state is also not obligated to appoint a criminal defense attorney for you. However, you can still hire one on your own. The amount you’ll have to pay depends on your case.

Misdemeanors: What Are They, and What Are the Punishments

Misdemeanors are crimes that are less serious than felonies but more so than infractions. In Louisiana, these carry jail terms of up to one year and a fine of $1,000. Violators will serve time in a county jail instead of a prison.

Misdemeanors are also categorized into different classes under the federal sentencing guidelines. Class A misdemeanors have a jail sentence of more than six months but less than a year. Class B offenses serve more than 30 days but only up to six months. Finally, offenders with class C misdemeanors have a sentence of more than five days and up to 30 days.

Felonies: What Are They, and What Are the Punishments?

Felonies are the most serious offenses, with many of them involving severe injuries, death, and loss of properties. In Louisiana, a felony is defined as an offense “for which an offender may be sentenced to death or imprisonment at hard labor.” Criminals will face imprisonment in a state prison and may also face other punishments such as probation, fines, community service, hard labor (while imprisoned), and possibly the death penalty. Depending on the severity of the crime, the sentence usually ranges anywhere from 45 days to life in prison.

It’s imperative that people charged with felonies get help from lawyers, especially because these crimes entail serious consequences. Lawyers will ensure that their rights are protected and that the punishment fits the crimes.

Get Help from an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney in Bossier City


Crimes are classified into three major categories—each depends on the severity of the offense and comes with a set of possible punishments. The penalties range from fines to the death penalty. While more minor violations such as traffic tickets usually may not warrant a lawyer, misdemeanors and felonies will require you to have a seasoned attorney by your side. In any case, it’s important to ensure that your rights are protected and the penalties fit the crime.

If you’re looking for a criminal defense attorney in Bossier City, Louisiana, consult the Law Office of Christopher M. Stahl. As an experienced lawyer, I will help you defend your rights and ensure that your pleas are heard—schedule a consultation today.
Contact us by filling out the form below.

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