Criminal law can be fairly confusing. One of the subjects that people occasionally get mixed up is whether something is a crime or not. In law, there are civil violations and crimes. Violations are things like speeding tickets or littering. Violations are not punishable by jail time. The worst thing that can possibly happen in a violation is imposition of a fine (not including any possible collateral consequences which is a topic for another day). Crimes are different from violations because a jail sentence is authorized. In the State of Maine, crimes come in 5 distinct classes that are separated by maximum penalties. Classes D and E are misdemeanors. A misdemeanor is a crime where the maximum penalty is up to one year in jail. A felony is a crime where the maximum penalty may exceed one year in jail. Classes A, B, and C are felonies in Maine. Some people often think that misdemeanor offenses are not crimes. I think this is conflating the difference between misdemeanors and felonies. It is important to understand that both misdemeanors and felonies are crimes. The reason this matter is because all crimes carry the potential of jail time, fines, and a criminal record. If you're still confused about what you're facing then maybe call a lawyer!
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