Nov 29, 2012

Felonies and misdemeanors

In certain states in America a misdemeanor in laymen’s terms is stealing a cookie out of the jar. A felony is eating the cookie. That’s the concept. An infraction is a traffic fine. When you speed on the highway it is a misdemeanor, you pay the fine and that’s that. When you speed on the highway and someone is killed as a result of your reckless driving it is vehicular assault and you spend time in jail; it’s a felony. Got it? The functional difference between the two rests with the penalty and the ‘power of imprisonment’. It is not whether someone convicted of a particular crime must be punished by a specific time in jail, but whether the person may be punished for a certain length of time or in a specific type of prison. 


In certain states all crimes punishable by death are felonies. In States such as New York, Rhode Island and New Hampshire a crime is a felony if it is punishable by more than a year in jail. In Arizona and Wisconsin a crime is a felony punishable by imprisonment in a state prison or penitentiary.  A misdemeanor is usually a crime punishable for a year or less in prison or only in a county jail.

Possession of a small quantity of weed a misdemeanor

There is also a wobbler. Some states also have alternative felony/misdemeanor crimes. A wobbler is a crime that can be charged as a felony or a misdemeanor based on circumstances and can be reduced to misdemeanor by a sentencing court. For instance, if you are found with a small bit of marijuana it might be a misdemeanor, but being in possession of a kilo of weed might lead to felony charges based on the volume of the drug.

In the procedural prosecution of felonies and misdemeanors there are not many differences. The government brings some sort of formal charges against you and accord you due process of law. The state follows more formal procedures to prosecute for a felony.

Lose the right to vote

Being convicted of a felony can have serious repercussions. You get a longer sentence, you lose the right to possess a firearm and hunting or fishing licenses. In some states you also lose the right to vote. You also have to disclose your status when applying for a job. A repeat felon faces much harder punishments especially where three-strike laws are in place. Go online for more information on felonies and misdemeanors in the United States.

Is there a link between genius and mental illness?

Is there a link between genius and mental illness?

There definitely is. A good example of this are artists who are brave and daring in their ideas and are made up of individuals who have the audacity to express themselves mentally in full regalia. Axel Rose in his mega-crowd performances for instance becomes almost manic as he loses control and just throws himself into the crowd – Janis Joplin the rock ‘n roll singer who succumbed to drugs at the age of 27 – Freddy Mercury of Queen who became a legend – Jimi Hendrix with his alpha guitar. These are but a handful of musicians and artists who suffered from their own mix of talent and genius and ended up taking drugs. Drugs took the pain away, it made them forget.

The heyday of the Sixties
In the old days artists were called drug addicts but there are many writers, singers, comedians and others who suffer from a bipolar disorder. People do not like the word ‘mental’ but it is a mental disease – a mood disorder that includes manic, depressed and mixed episodes. It is the most common of all mental disorders because of the occurrence rate of depression. Here is what you should know about mood, manic, and depressed episodes:

·         A mood disorder characterized by disturbances in physical, emotional and behavioural patterns which can range from elation to extreme depression with a potential for suicide.

·         A manic episode characterized by an unusual elevated mood or one of extreme agitation. The person has grandiose ideas about his importance and power. He may jump from topic to topic and make everyone around him crazy. The person is jacked up and speaks rapidly and in severe cases may see or hear things others do not.

·         Sadness, thoughts of worthlessness, feeling empty, crying all the time, difficult concentration and an inability to sleep; they are unable to socialize with others and is obsessed with thoughts of death and dying. Feeling sad and depressed all the time is not good and should be treated. According to one sufferer having a bipolar disorder is like an endless roller coaster.

Treating bipolar disorder
Seek treatment right away. The earlier you start the process, the better. Effective bipolar treatment relieves symptoms, reduces the frequency and intensity of mood swings and you need not suffer discomfort. Having said that, go online and learn all you can about the disorder and appropriate treatment. Follow the doctor’s instructions. Your best bet for bipolar treatment is a psychiatrist who is qualified and can recommend medication.