A person who is facing criminal charges for the first time might have some questions about what certain things mean. One of the primary concerns they might have is learning a bit more about the classification of their crime. There are two primary classifications for this – misdemeanor and felony.
The distinction between these crimes is based on the severity of the crime. While many people tend to think of felonies as violent offenses, there are some crimes that fall under this classification that don’t involve violence at all. Embezzlement, securities fraud and tax evasion are some examples of felonies that likely don’t have violent elements.
Felonies are the most serious type of crime, and they come with some harsh penalties. Sentences for these charges can include at least a year in prison. Heinous crimes, such as first-degree murder, can come with life in prison without the possibility of parole. In some cases, these crimes can come with the possibility of the death penalty.
Some convictions will result in an alternative sentence to imprisonment. For example, a person might be placed on probation instead of having to go to prison.
On top of time in prison, there’s also the possibility of fines and other penalties. Each crime has sentencing ranges to help guide judges who have to issue them. They take the person’s criminal history and the circumstances of the crime into account when they’re determining what’s appropriate.
Because a felony conviction follows you around for life, you should ensure that you get to work on your defense quickly if you’re facing one. The goal of your defense must play a role in the development of your defense strategy, so consider this carefully.