One of the things you are likely to fear the most when charged with a crime is what will happen if you are convicted. This could be a scary prospect as it could mean possible jail time, fines, being separated from your children and family, and could leave a lasting impact on your record. An experienced attorney can help you understand the process and the ramifications should you receive a criminal conviction.
The Difference Between a Felony and Misdemeanor Crime
Your punishment for a criminal conviction will really depend on the severity of the crime you committed. It will be important to have a clear understanding of the difference between a felony and misdemeanor crime. One primary difference between the two is the jail time if convicted. Depending upon the state you are charged in, felony punishments are greater in prison time than misdemeanors. In addition, in most states a misdemeanor does not take away any civil rights such as the right to vote or possess a firearm.
Examples of misdemeanor crimes include:
- Petty Theft (Each state sets a different limit. For example, many states’ laws establish a threshold of theft of items under $500 are misdmeanors)
- First offense DUI
- Public Intoxication
- Possession of Marijuana (But as you know, some states have decriminalized this)
- Reckless Driving
Although a misdemeanor is a less serious crime than a felony, it can still be a scary charge to have to face. In addition to possible jail time and fines, your future could be impacted significantly. If you are charged with a misdemeanor, you could have a difficult time obtaining employment because most misdemeanors will be reported on your criminal record.
If you have been accused of committing a felony, the crime is more serious than that of a misdemeanor crime. If you are convicted of a felony crime, in most states, the prison/jail time is at least one year in prison. Examples of felony crimes include:
- Attempted murder
- Battery with bodily injury
- Larceny over a certain amount
- Possession of certain narcotics
- Selling certain narcotics
Like a misdemeanor, felony convictions will stay on your record for a lifetime. In addition, in most states, you lose your right to vote and your right to possess a firearm. By choosing a skilled lawyer, like a criminal defense lawyer Fairfax, VA relies on, they will be able to provide you with qualified legal counsel specific to your case.
Taking a Plea Deal
A plea deal may be negotiated between your defense attorney and the prosecutor surrounding the charges for which you have been accused. Usually in exchange for a guilty or no contest plea, the prosecution will agree to reduce some charges brought against you. Plea deals are attractive to the court system because it is a way of moving cases through the legal process swiftly and efficiently without going through the lengthy process of a trial. They are also attractive to Prosecutors because it guarantees a conviction on certain charges, and advantageous to Defendant’s because it can limit exposure to more serious charges or greater punishments.
The type of sentencing you receive if you are convicted, will largely vary depending on the crime that you committed and its’ severity. Call a lawyer today. Our attorneys can help advise you over the legal process and possible outcomes of your case. You will encounter many unknowns when considering what the possibilities of a conviction could be. They can help answer questions you may have so that you know what to expect on the road ahead.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from Dave Albo Attorney for their insight into criminal defense.