When you are arrested for a crime, the charge you face will be classified as either a misdemeanor or a felony. This classification might not seem like a big deal at first glance; however, the way that it is classified can have an impact on how the case moves through the criminal justice system, as well as the effects of the case that can follow you through life.
The first point that matters here is that felony charges are more serious than misdemeanor charges. Thus, the implications of a felony conviction are much more considerable than the implications of a misdemeanor conviction.
A misdemeanor conviction isn't likely going to impact your rights, but that isn't the case with a felony conviction. A felony conviction can prevent you from being able to vote. In Kentucky, you would need a court order or a governor's action to be able to vote after a felony conviction. In Tennessee, you would be eligible to vote only after you complete your sentence if you are convicted of a felony.
With both classifications, you have the right to an attorney. In felony cases, you also have the right to a trial by jury. That isn't the case with misdemeanors, which could be handled in a bench trial with the presiding judge deciding the case.
Being convicted of a felony charge also brands you as a felon for the rest of your life. This is one reason why fighting a felony charge is important. If you are facing any criminal charge, you should make sure that you learn about how the case can affect you.
Source: FindLaw, "Implications of a Crime's Classification," accessed Nov. 03, 2016