Offences in early times are classified under the common law as treason, misdemeanours and felony in New South Wales, particularly in connection with the imposition of penalties. In some other jurisdictions in Australia, the crime of treason is seldom given utmost interest. Usually, the focus of distinction is between felonies and misdemeanours.
A person committed a felonious act forfeited his or her property in favour of the Crown. However, this is not the case when the person committed misdemeanour.
The felony is treated as commission of serious unlawful acts while misdemeanour is the commission of an infraction of a law which is not serious in nature.
Historically, punishment for the commission of a felony is death. However, in the current justice system of New South Wales, there is no distinction as to the imposition of punishment. The nature of the punishment imposed is the same for those who committed felony or misdemeanour.
A felony under the common law is a commission of an offence which is prohibited by statute or any law. This means that unless there is a declaration that the commission of an act is a felony, there would be no felonious liability and what was committed is a misdemeanour only.
The Crimes Act 1900 of the New South Wales provides that those offences punishable by penal servitude are considered the status of felony and those which are punishable by a fine or an imprisonment is the status of misdemeanour only.
Other Australian States abolished in their statutes the distinction between felony and misdemeanour and certain corresponding offences were created in relation to the act committed.
Disclaimer : This article is just a summary of the subject matter being discussed and should not be regarded as a comprehensive legal advice for you to defend yourself alone. If you are charged with criminal offences, it is recommended that you seek legal assistance from criminal lawyers.