In Colorado, the difference between felony criminal offenses and misdemeanor criminal offenses is one of degree of seriousness. In most cases, felony offenses are more serious than misdemeanor offenses. A felony conviction carries a number of ramifications that can significantly impact a person’s life, resulting in things like the inability to possess firearms, the loss of job prospects, etc. In addition, a person convicted of a felony criminal offense in Colorado could be sentenced to serve time in the state prison system (Department of Corrections).
Misdemeanor offenses are generally less serious than felony offenses. A person convicted of a misdemeanor offense could face time in a county jail (as opposed to the state prison system). For the most part, people like employers and apartment managers tend to be less concerned about misdemeanor convictions than they are about felony convictions on a person’s record.
There is also a category of offenses in Colorado known as petty offenses. Petty offenses are less serious than misdemeanor offenses but can still carry the possibility of jail time in a county jail and fines. In addition, Colorado designates some traffic offenses as “misdemeanor traffic offenses,” under which things like careless driving and reckless driving are classified, and these too can carry possible county jail sentences and fines.
Colorado Municipal Courts (in most cities) have their own ordinances, and a person convicted of violating any of these ordinances could be sentenced to serve jail time and/or to pay fines.
Colorado has ”decriminalized” many minor traffic offenses, including most speeding charges, stop-sign violations, weaving charges, etc., and as a result the most these types of minor traffic offenses can lead to are fines, court costs, and points on your driver’s license.
Even the most minor-seeming offense has the potential for long-term consequences in areas a person may not even think to consider. Consulting a lawyer any time you are charged with any type of offense makes good sense and the lawyers at Miller & Harrison, LLC stand ready to consult with you on any legal issues.