Wednesday, December 11, 2019


So it has come to my attention that not everyone understands all the terminology utilized in the Law enforcement community and that I should clarify on some of what is being said as well as its meaning. Thus in light of this discovery, I will be discussing the difference between a Misdemeanor and a Felony to start. In addition to that, I will touch on how we determine whether the offense is what is called “Summons Releasable.” 

A Misdemeanor offense is defined as a violation of law that can be punished up to 12 months in jail w/a fine associated with it as well. This is considered to be a lesser offense in the eyes of the law, they usually come in varies sections or classes ranging from 1-4. A class one (1) Misdemeanor offense is worse than a class two (2) offense and so on so on. 

Not all Misdemeanor Offense have jail time, but all have a fine associated with them. Traffic violations are a sort of Misdemeanor offense, but it is more or less treated as a simple ticket. 

There are specific guidelines established by the courts that govern how Misdemeanor offenses are enforced by LEOs. When a traffic citation is issued it is on a form title “State” or “Jurisdiction” Uniformed Summons because although it is a Misdemeanor offense LEOs don’t take people to jail for majority of them, they just summon them to court or issue a fine and be done with it. 

The same can be applied to certain criminal actions, the court has deemed that specific types of Misdemeanor offenses can be enacted with the subject being released on a Uniformed Summons to court. The act of releasing someone charged with a Misdemeanor offense with a Summons to court is what’s known as “Summons Release.” 

Majority of Misdemeanor offenses are “Summons releasable”, however if the offense is violent or has a direct victim it is most likely not “Summons Releasable” and requires an arrest. That is a sort of general overview of what a Misdemeanor Offense is, it goes deeper obviously but this can serve an introduction of sorts. 

Now on the hand, a Felony offense is defined as a violation of law that can be punished up to life imprisonment/capital murder (depending on where you reside) w/a fine associated with it as well. Felony offenses normal come in classes or sections as well ranging from 1-6. 

There is only one (1) class one Felony and it is Capital Murder. Otherwise all other offense are diverted into the lesser classes. Felony offenses are the big crimes (i.e. murder, burglary, credit card theft, robbery, etc.) and thus are treated differently in the eyes of the law. There is NO Felony Summons Release, all Felony offenses require a custodial arrest be made. A Felony traffic violation will result in the citation being issued, however the subject will be taken into custody as well. 

Both Felony and Misdemeanor offenses are heard in General District Court, however Felony cases tend to require a trial w/ jury whereas Misdemeanor offense rarely go that far. Both offenses can be appealed to the Circuit Court for review if the subjects are not happy with the outcome in General District Court. 

So this is a very brief overview of the differences between Misdemeanor and Felony offenses, I am choosing to stop here, however there is a lot more that goes into it all...

Misdemeanor? Felony? What’s the Difference?