What is the difference between a felony and a misdemeanor in Mississippi?

Back to the basics with this one.

A misdemeanor is defined under Mississippi law as  “a criminal offense punishable by a maximum possible sentence of confinement for one year or less, a fine, or both.”  Uniform Circuit and County Court Rule 6.01.  The Mississippi Legislature has defined a felony as “any violation of law punished with death or confinement in the penitentiary.”  Miss. Code Ann. § 1-3-11.

These definitions, one provided by the courts and one provided by the legislature, don’t exactly compliment each other.  But, in general, a felony is any crime for which a person can be imprisoned for one or more years in a state or federal prison, and a misdemeanor is any other lesser crime.  Any incarceration resulting from a misdemeanor conviction will probably be served in a local county jail or detention center, and longer incarceration resulting from a felony conviction will probably be served at one of the state facilities maintained by the Mississippi Department of Corrections. 

The distinctions between a felony and a misdemeanor come up in many different areas of the law, including sentencing hearings, expungements, use of prior convictions to enhance subsequent punishments, etc.  And, of course, federal criminal law is different than Mississippi state law in many of these areas. 

If you’ve been accused of a crime, felony or misdemeanor, state or federal, you need to know your options before making any life-changing decisions.  Contact us for a free review of your case.