This type of criminal conviction involves minor or less serious criminal acts. These include shoplifting, disorderly conduct, simple assault, trespassing, vandalism and petty theft. Some states also include reckless driving, prostitution and underage drinking as acts under misdemeanor conviction. This type of conviction often requires the defendant to serve up to one year in county jail, pay a specified fine or both.
Felony convictions are given to individuals who have committed more serious criminal offenses, such as murder, rape, arson, burglary and aggravated assault. Other crimes that result in felony convictions include battery, sales of illegal drugs and vandalism of federal property. These convictions are very serious and normally involve large fines and time in state prison—the amount and length depending on the seriousness of the criminal act.
“Wobbler” convictions are named as such because these crimes can result in being classified either as misdemeanor or felony convictions—depending on the offender’s status and criminal record. For example, petty theft, which is usually classified as a misdemeanor, can be elevated to felony status because the offender’s criminal record shows that he is a repeat offender or has an earlier theft conviction. Many cases can be classified as either felonies or misdemeanors. Wobbler convictions can then require either a period of time in state prison, county jail or the payment of a fine.
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