What is the difference between a civil infraction, misdemeanor and felony?

There are three types of offenses that bring people to court in Michigan. A civil infraction is the least severe and is usually something like a speeding ticket or traffic ticket. Civil infractions are civil matters, and admitting responsibility to one does not result in a criminal record or conviction. It may, however, result in an increase in insurance premiums.

Misdemeanors are crimes that are punishable by up to one year in jail and/or 2 years of probation.

Felonies are punishable by more than one year of incarceration and/ or up-to 5 years of probation. Felonies are the only crimes where a person could be sent to prison.

A sub-category of felonies is a high court misdemeanor. This crime is punishable by up to 2 years in prison and/or 5 years of probation. A high court misdemeanor is considered a felony for criminal justice purposes but a misdemeanor for civil purposes. If convicted of a high-court misdemeanor, a person does not have to state they have been convicted of a felony on job applications or other questionnaires but the conviction is otherwise treated as a felony.

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1. What are my rights in a criminal case?
2. What is the difference between a civil infraction, misdemeanor and felony?
3. I’ve been charged with a crime. What happens now?
4. How do I request an attorney?
5. When will my appointed attorney meet with me?
6. Can I pay my Court Appointed Attorney to get them to work harder for me?
7. My attorney won’t give me my Discovery Packet or file. Aren’t they required to do so?
8. My attorney asked if my family could pay for an expert or investigator. What if I can’t afford it?
9. I don’t like my attorney. Can I have a new one appointed?
10. Is my court appointed attorney a "real" attorney?
11. How should I dress when I have a hearing?