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Hawaii felonies vs. misdemeanors

On Behalf of | Apr 8, 2024 | Criminal Defense

If you have heard of someone getting in trouble with the law or have been there yourself, you might have heard about felonies and misdemeanors. But what exactly are they? How are they different in Hawaii? Let’s break it down.

The big stuff: felonies

Felonies are the big stuff—serious crimes that will land you in big trouble. In Hawaii, felonies include things like murder, robbery and drug trafficking.

The consequences that come with committing a felony are serious. They often include hefty fines, long prison times, or even an entire life behind bars. Felonies are no joke and they can affect you for life.

Smaller offenses: misdemeanors

Misdemeanors are smaller offenses. Think of petty theft, disorderly conduct and simple assault. Even though these are not as serious as felonies, they can still lead to fines and some time in jail.

What are the key differences?

It is important to note the most prominent differences between felonies and misdemeanors:

  1. Severity
  2. Punishment
  3. Long-term consequences

Why does this matter? Well, because the less severe the offense, the less severe the consequences, including punishment and the long-term impact that the offense will have on your life.

For example, if you murder someone in Hawaii or even try to murder someone, the consequences of that offense will be significantly more serious, the punishment more severe and the long-term impact greater than if you steal a pair of jeans from your local department store.

Now that you understand the difference, you can appreciate why the law separates offenses into these categories. It is not only helpful for the legal system but also so that people have a much better understanding of the line between serious and less serious crimes.