If you face a serious felony charge, here are 10 important things that you need to know about the charge, potential consequences, and your defense.
1. Sometimes juveniles charged with serious felonies might have their cases go to adult court. This will depend on a juvenile’s age, previous juvenile history, and current charge.
2. Assaulting a police officer can get charged up to a Class D felony.
3. Three different degrees of burglary exist in the United States. The most serious is first degree burglary, which is charged as a Class B felony.
4. Misdemeanors generally constitute minor infractions, and they carry punishments such as small fines and short periods of jail time.
5. Felonies constitute much more serious crimes. They carry large fines and long prison sentences as their punishments.
6. You could spend as much as 40 years in prison for manslaughter, depending on the degree that you get convicted of.
7. Manslaughter and murder punishments can increase if you commit one of these crimes with a firearm.
8. If convicted of homicide, the minimum prison sentence lasts for 20 years.
9. Assault is a form of serious felony.
10. Burglary is a form of serious felony.
Here are some common questions you still might have:
What Should I Do If I Am Accused of a Serious Felony?
When contacted by the police, stay calm. You do not have to provide any information until you are formally charged with a crime and arrested. You do not have to answer any questions and you should not if you feel that answering questions will incriminate you. A good thing to do if you have been contacted by the police is to hire a criminal defense lawyer. Such a lawyer can assist you with this situation. A criminal defense lawyer can help you avoid the police’s questioning while still cooperating with their investigation. It is in your best interest not to make enemies or upset the police, but your lawyer will know which questions it would be appropriate for you to answer and which you should not.
Will I Have to Appear in Court?
If you are arrested, your release from jail hinges on your agreement to return for your court appearance. You either would have signed a document stating that you will appear in court on your own, or you would have posted bail in order to be released from jail. Either way, failure to appear in court will result in committing a different crime (failure to appear). It is always in your best interest to appear for your court date. You can discuss having your lawyer appear in court for you on a case by case basis.
How Will I Be Sentenced For a Crime?
You will be sentenced for a crime in one of two ways. The first is if you reach a plea bargain with the prosecutor. The other way that you can be sentenced for a crime is if you are found guilty in court.
What Happens When I’m Arrested?
If arrested, you will be brought to a police station and booked. The police will take down your basic information, such as your name, date of birth, where you live, where you work, etc. You will be fingerprinted and kept in a holding cell until your bail hearing. At a bail hearing, bail is determined based on the crime that you are being accused of as well as other factors, such as your prior criminal history, your risk of leaving the country, etc.