What is the difference between a misdemeanor and a felony in Massachusetts?

Massachusetts Misdemeanor vs. Felony

Q: What is the difference between a misdemeanor and a felony in Massachusetts?

A:
In Massachusetts, a misdemeanor is any criminal offense that does not carry the potential for state prison time.  The maximum sentence for a misdemeanor is 2 1/2 years in the House of Corrections.  A felony is any criminal offense that is punishable by state prison time.  The most serious felonies carry up to life in prison.  If a felony is prosecuted in District Court, then the maximum sentence a judge can impose is 2 1/2 years in the House of Corrections.