What is a felony versus a misdemeanor?
A felony is a crime of a graver or more serious nature than crimes designated as misdemeanors. Under federal law and in California it is any crime punishable by death or imprisonment for a period exceeding one year.
A misdemeanor is a crime that is not as serious in nature as a felony and in California is generally punishable by fine and/or imprisonment in the county jail and in any event not to exceed one year.
In California, some crimes can be charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor depending on the circumstances surrounding the offense.