A Felony is the more serious class of crime and thus is punished more severely. Thereby, most states including California classify felonies as all crimes punishable by death or imprisonment for more than one year. A Usually, a felony crime is one proceeding from an evil purpose, wicked and against the admonition of the law.
A misdemeanor is the less serious class of crime and thus is punished less severely. Thereby, most states including California classify misdemeanors as all crimes punishable by imprisonment for less than one year or by fine. In fact, misdemeanors are usually punished by fines, forfeitures or other non-jail penalties.