I’ve Been Charged With A Crime, What Can I Do?
Remember that if you are charged with a crime, especially a misdemeanor or felony, you have certain rights. The most important rights you have are the right to remain silent and the right to have a lawyer present at all stages of the process. You should be aware of these rights and remember them. They apply not only after you’ve been charged with a crime, but also even if you believe you are suspected of having committed a crime.
What’s The Difference Between A Misdemeanor And A Felony Crime?
Misdemeanors and felonies are the two broad categories of offenses that are considered crimes. Lesser acts are usually called “violations” or “petty offenses,” and are typically resolved with a fine only.
Misdemeanors are less serious than felonies. They may be punished with significant fines and some jail time, although jail sentences tend to be less than a year in length. Some examples of misdemeanors are:
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Certain types of theft
Felonies are the most serious criminal offenses, and often result in both substantial fines and substantial prison time (typically served in a state or federal institution, rather than a local jail). Felonies are further broken down into classes or degrees, and the most serious are either Class A or First-degree. A few examples of felonies are:
Why You Should Be Concerned If You Are Facing Criminal Charges
If you or a loved one is facing criminal charges it is critical to understand that a criminal charge is serious not only because of the punishment, but also because of the impact on your future. Even if you’ve only been charged once for a crime, a criminal record can cause problems in an employment opportunity and in a pre-sentence report any earlier charges may result in a more severe sentence for a current crime.
If you are facing your first conviction in case such as shoplifting, understand that if you are convicted it will be recorded and if you were to face a second charge of the same crime for shoplifting, you will face a greater charge of misdemeanor versus the lesser summary charge.
A criminal charge is a serious event and can impact your future, it is extremely important that any criminal charge be handled properly.
Learn More About Your Options In A Free Consultation
The Law Office of Geoffrey McInroy, LLC, is based in Camp Hill, Pennsylvania, and serves clients throughout the area. To take advantage of a free initial consultation, call us at 717-540-6833 or send us an email.