Misdemeanor v. Felony Charges in New Haven

Misdemeanor and felony charges are processed very similarly in New Haven. However, a felony charge is considered a much more serious allegation than a misdemeanor charge, and the penalties reflect this. A New Haven criminal defense attorney can walk you through all of your options and help you achieve the best possible outcome for the facts of your case and the circumstances of the charge.


A misdemeanor in New Haven is considered a less serious crime and carries a maximum penalty of one year in jail. The distinction between a misdemeanor and felony is the maximum possible jail time. 

The court processes and handles misdemeanor and felony cases rather similarly. Both a misdemeanor and a felony charge still have to go to court, same court times, and the same process of talking with a prosecutor and then a judge before the trial in an attempt to resolve the case.

The distinction between a misdemeanor and felony occurs in the likely ultimate outcome. Misdemeanors are less serious offenses and often it is easier to resolve these cases in a favorable way for the client.


Felony charges are more serious allegations than misdemeanor charges. The least serious felony is a Class D felony and it carries a maximum penalty of five years in jail.

The process of a felony charge revolves around trying to reach an agreement. This means that initially, criminal attorneys will obtain all of the prosecutions discovery during the defendant’s investigation, and then attempt to work out the best possible agreement with the prosecutor.

If the defendant and prosecutor are unable to reach an agreement , the next step is involving a judge in the judicial pretrial. Ultimately the court process is similar to what is used in a misdemeanor prosecution, but the ultimate outcome is very different.

With felony charges, the likelihood of jail time is much greater. Often these cases drag on for a bit of time and require significant preparation. Your defense attorney will need to keep focused on all the options available for the defendant to obtain the best possible outcome.

First Court Date

Generally the case will simply be continued on the first court date. The defendant’s attorneys will need to obtain police reports and get the basic information during that court appearance and very rarely will cases be worked out within the first court date. The case continuance is required because the defense attorneys need to evaluate the case, figure out what investigation is necessary, and prepare the strongest defense for the details of the case and charge.

Additionally, in Connecticut, the state is often required to make, what is known as, victim contact. According to the Connecticut Constitution the alleged victim of an offense is required to be notified to the possible outcomes in the ongoing discussions regarding the disposition of the criminal case they have been labeled as a victim.

Benefit of an Attorney

An experienced defense attorney is well versed in the nuances of Connecticut law and the state prosecutors and judges involved. A defendant can expect to be helped through the complicated process of a criminal charge, whether a misdemeanor or felony, and receive help in working towards their best possible outcome.