In every state, crimes are put into distinct categories that usually include felony, misdemeanor, and infraction. Decisions on crime classification are made by state legislators, and the determination usually focuses on the seriousness of the crime in terms of impact on victims and society. This article looks at the differences among these crime classifications -- from least serious (infractions) to most serious (felony). (To learn more about how different crimes are defined, check out Nolo's Crimes In-Depth section.)
Prop 47 downgraded many theft and drug possession crimes from felonies to misdemeanors. With some exceptions, people with prior convictions for these crimes, no matter how old, are entitled to ask for resentencing as a misdemeanant.