Both a misdemeanor and a felony are crimes. It is the crime as well as the length of punishment that help to distinguish the two. In other words, is the crime severe enough to warrant an argument by the prosecution for a sentence to be a certain length of time and in a certain type of facility. Typically, a misdemeanor is punishable by no more than up to two years in jail and can be served in the county jail in lieu of prison. A felony, on the other hand, is considered a more serious crime and is punishable with a sentence of five years or more in prison in the Iowa State criminal justice system.

Aggravated Misdemeanor

Aggravated misdemeanors are classified as the most serious misdemeanors in Iowa. These are punishable with up to two years in jail and a fine. Crimes such as a second offense of driving while intoxicated, driving while barred or carrying weapons without a valid permit are all examples of aggravated misdemeanors.

Serious Misdemeanor

Serious misdemeanors carry a one year maximum sentence and a mandatory fine. This includes theft 4th, prostitution, certain types of assault, criminal mischief 4th and indecent exposure.

Simple Misdemeanor

Simple misdemeanors are considerably less serious acts. Punishment is a maximum of 30 days in jail and a fine. These examples include disorderly conduct, false reports, and possession of alcohol under legal age.

The different levels of felonies in Iowa

Most crimes involving violence are considered felonies, however not all felonies must include violence. This distinction is one the court will consider when sentencing occurs. Each felony is classified in order to determine penalties.

Class A

Considered the most serious of crimes, such as first degree murder, first degree sexual assault, and first degree kidnapping, etc.

Class B

Attempted murder, second degree murder, second degree sexual assault, first degree burglary and the most serious controlled substance offenses, etc.

Class C

Willful injury, the most serious thefts, second degree theft, and first degree criminal mischief, etc.

Class D

Selling marijuana, third degree burglary, OWI 3rd, etc.