I just read that a relatively famous US TV personality has been sentenced to 366 days in jail for fraud (hiding about $750,000 in a bankruptcy case). Is there a significant difference between a 366 days and a 364 days sentence (other than the two extra days obviously)?

I learned in another question that there can be a significant difference between crimes with a maximum sentence of less than a year and more than a year, independent of the actual sentence, but that's a different situation. In that case "six months sentence for a crime punished with up to one year in jail" and "six months sentence for a crime punished with up to two years in jail" can make a difference.

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    Why would it be a completely different situation? The sentence is just more than a year, not just less than a year, so any further thing that triggers based on "longer than a year" like e.g. some visa or job applications, third-strike or cumulative-score penalty laws, is going to see a huge difference.
    – user4657
    Jul 26, 2017 at 10:55
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    What state is this (or is it federal)? I believe in some states, sentences of less than one year are served in county jail, while sentences of more than one year are served in state prison. The latter might be considered more "harsh". Jul 26, 2017 at 16:27

1 Answer 1


As explained in the comments, a sentence is more than one year is the operational definition of a felony in many context concerning the collateral consequences of a sentence.

For example, a sentence of more than one year causes a person to be deportable, while one of less than one year generally does not. Another consequence is that the offense will count as a prior felony in the event of a new conviction which can result in a much longer sentence for a subsequent offense. In many states, a prior felony means losing the right to vote and the ability to have or obtain a license in many professions.

Sentences of more than one year are also generally served in a state prison rather than in a county jail.

Both of these factors make a sentence of 366 days significantly more serious than one of 364 days.

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