Even the mere allegation by the government that you have committed a crime can affect your personal life, professional reputation, and overall livelihood. Most people do not know what to do next or what steps they should take when they have been accused of a crime. It is crucial that you hire an experienced criminal defense attorney who is knowledgeable of criminal law and can zealously defend you in court.
Misdemeanor and Felony Crimes
If you have been charged with a crime, it is important to understand the difference between a misdemeanor and felony offense. Each comes with its own degrees of seriousness as well as its own penalties. Law often defines a misdemeanor offense as a crime that is punishable by less than one year in a county correctional facility or lesser consequences.
Misdemeanors are separated into two degrees:
First degree: A first degree misdemeanor can be punishable with up to one year in a county correctional facility and a fine up to $1,000. Examples of a first degree misdemeanor include petit theft, first offense DUI, and possession of less than twenty grams of marijuana.
Second degree: A second degree misdemeanor can be punishable with up to sixty days in a county correctional facility and a fine up to $500. Examples of a second degree misdemeanor include criminal mischief and disorderly conduct.
A felony is defined as any crime that is punishable by more than one year in a state prison. Felonies are separated into five degrees:
Capital felony: A capital felony can be punishable with either the death penalty or life in prison without the possibility of parole. An example of a capital felony is murder.
Life felony: A life felony can be punishable with a prison sentence between forty years to life in a state prison and a fine up to $15,000. An example of a life felony is lewd or lascivious molestation of a victim under 12 years old.
Felony of the first degree: A felony of the first degree can be punishable with a prison sentence up to thirty years and a fine up to $10,000. Examples of a felony in the first degree include drug trafficking and felony burglary.
Felony of the second degree: A felony of the second degree can be punishable with a sentence up to fifteen years in a state prison and a fine up to $10,000. Examples of a felony of the second degree include aggravated battery and robbery.
Felony of the third degree: A felony of the third degree can be punishable with a prison sentence up to five years and a fine up to $5,000. Examples of a felony in the third degree include aggravated assault and possession of a controlled substance.
Contact a Criminal Defense Attorney Today
If you or someone that you know has been charged with a crime, you should not leave your personal freedom and professional reputation up to chance. You need a criminal defense attorney who knows the law and can defend your rights in court.