Felony crimes are among the most serious criminal offenses, and convictions for these charges can lead to lengthy prison sentences and a permanent record that will make it difficult or impossible to get a job, rent an apartment, or obtain many professional licenses. If you are accused of a felony, it’s critical to seek the assistance of a skilled criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible.
Generally, crime law states divide up criminal and penal codes by misdemeanors and felonies. The punishments that are attached to a felony conviction can vary widely, but the most common penalties include fines, probation, and jail time. In some cases, the penalties may also be accompanied by community service or mandatory drug treatment programs.
Many states and the federal government use a system to categorize felony charges in which the lower the number or letter of a felony, the more serious the crime. However, some prosecutors will use a more layered approach and specify the severity of the charge on a crime-by-crime basis.
For instance, murder and treason are usually classified as felonies, while larceny and burglary are typically classed as misdemeanors. Whether a crime is considered a felony or a misdemeanor can be greatly impacted by the presence of “aggravating factors,” such as the amount stolen, the presence of a weapon, or the number of prior arrests for the same crime.
When a person is charged with a felony, they will usually have to go through the same process as they would with a misdemeanor case, but they will likely face the possibility of a jury trial. During the trial, the prosecutor will present evidence and call witnesses to testify. The defense attorney will then have the opportunity to cross-examine each witness.
Violent felony charges can be extremely severe, and any criminal charge should be treated seriously. Even a wrongful charge should be aggressively fought with the help of a dedicated criminal defense attorney. A skilled attorney could investigate whether any of your rights were violated during the investigation, such as if a warrant was obtained illegally or if you weren’t read your Miranda rights before being questioned by police officers.