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. Most traffic violations fall into this category.
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.