A misdemeanor normally results in the offender spending less than a year in jail and are crimes that are generally harmless to others. However, felonies are more serious crimes that generally carry sentences of more than a year of prison time.
Of course, this is a bit oversimplified, but in general a felony is much more serious than a misdemeanor.
When would a possession of marijuana be considered a misdemeanor as opposed to a felony?
With marijuana, the type of crime is determined by the amount in possession and the circumstances of the whether the offender was selling, growing or consuming it. Normally, if a person has more than an ounce in their possession, a judge could sentence a felony.
The variables are based on the states and more commonly, the judge. A judge will examine the circumstances and the offenders past crime history when making a decision on the sentence.
What is the advantage of getting a misdemeanor?
One major advantage of a misdemeanor is not being labeled as a "convicted felon." If you have a misdemeanor, you still have the freedom to not have to check that box on applications/forms. With a misdemeanor, a person still has different rights whereas, a convicted felon in some states do not the rights to vote, etc. A misdemeanor should serve as a serious warning to prevent a felony- which can be life altering.
What are the long-term implications of having this on your record?
If you have a felony on your record, it can prevent you from qualifying for jobs, volunteer positions, housing, etc. Not only will a felony serve a obstacle in living your normal life, it also has a negative connation that can be shed negative life in your social life.
This is possible because in some states individuals have a right to visit their local clerk and request information about a local citizen.
What if I already have a misdemeanor for marijuana?
If a person already has a misdemeanor, that should serve as a final warning to stop selling, growing or consuming. No matter what your view on marijuana may be, you must understand the consequences for disobeying the law. There is no way around the law in your state regarding marijuana and you should follow it to prevent additions to your criminal record.
What if I already have a felony for marijuana?
If a person has obtained a felony for marijuana, they should stay away from the activity that caused the felony. They should understand that they have disobeyed the law and consequences will be serving time in prison and/or classes and the title of being a 'convicted felon.' Plus, there are ways a person can have their records sealed or expunged (rules and regulations will vary from state to state). See also:
Marijuana and IBS External link (opens in new window)
Alabama Marijuana Laws External link (opens in new window)
Alaska Marijuana Laws External link (opens in new window)