Types of criminal charges include misdemeanors, felonies and infractions, according to About.com. The grouping of the criminal offenses depends on the gravity of the offense and the associated penalties.
Misdemeanors are crimes that are less serious and include assault, battery and driving while drunk, notes About.com. Typically, the penalty for misdemeanors is a maximum of one-year imprisonment.
Contrary to misdemeanors, felonies are more serious crimes that attract heavy penalties, states About.com. Examples of felonies include murder, rape and armed robbery. The penalty harshness for felonies varies depending on the magnitude of the felony and may range from a few years' imprisonment to execution. For instance, capital crimes, which are serious felonies, differ from other felonies in the sense that capital felony convicts may face the death penalty. Depending on the state, a court may also disenfranchise felony convicts and deny them the right to possess firearms, among other civil rights.
Infractions are types of criminal offenses in which the penalty does not involve imprisonment but fines, reports About.com. Infractions are also called petty crimes, and relevant authorities may fine the perpetrators of infractions, making a court process unnecessary for the criminals. Examples of infractions include speeding in speed-controlled areas, parking in prohibited places and improper garbage disposal.