Crimes are categorized as either a felony or a misdemeanor based on the severity and the nature of the crime. A felony is the most serious of crimes and is typically punishable by imprisonment for more than one year — or potentially death. Lower-level felonies can carry a sentence of just six months. Misdemeanors are less severe crimes that are typically punished by a fine or a sentence of six months or less. Traffic and parking infractions are often called violations and are also considered a part of criminal law.