What to Do if You’re Charged with a Felony

Those who are arrested and charged with a felony are facing hundreds of dollars in fines, at least a year in jail, and other penalties. The exact penalties will depend on what they are convicted for if they are convicted of the crime. Those who are facing any felony charges are in need of help as soon as possible. By working with a lawyer, it is possible the accused could have a much better outcome for the case instead of facing the maximum penalties for the crime they’re accused of committing.

Hire a Lawyer to Work the Case

The first step anyone who has been arrested should take is to hire a lawyer. Criminal lawyers like those at Kelly Legal Group can provide more information as well as help the accused determine what can be done to defend against the charges. Each case is different, so it’s not always possible to predict the outcome of a case. Instead, a lawyer will look at all of the details of the case to determine what the options are for the accused. They will then discuss these options with the accused to determine the next steps to take.

It is always important to listen to the lawyer about the potential outcome for the case, as they have experience with the law and know the judges that may preside over the case. However, it is up to the accused to determine how they want to proceed. The lawyer will work on the defense or strategy the accused wants to do, and will do as much as possible to help their client get a better outcome for the case.

Look Into Ways to Have Charges Dismissed

Depending on the situation, it may be possible to have the charges dismissed. The accused’s lawyer may argue that the state does not have enough evidence to proceed with the case or that the evidence the prosecution has is tainted. If the evidence was obtained illegally, for example, it may not be admissible in court. If enough evidence is no longer admissible, there may not be a case against the accused and the prosecution may be willing to dismiss the charges completely. This is always something a lawyer will look into, as this is a good way to completely avoid a criminal record.

Ask for Reduced Charges

In cases where there is enough evidence to proceed or the prosecution wants to push forward despite a lack of evidence, it may still be possible to have the charges reduced. This means that instead of a felony, the accused could face a misdemeanor or infraction. A misdemeanor will still lead to a criminal record, but the jail time will be limited to a maximum of one year, if the person receives jail time as part of their sentence, and those with a misdemeanor conviction do not lose basic rights like someone with a felony record might. An infraction, on the other hand, is like a ticket. The accused would need to pay a fine, but they would not face jail time or probation.

Seek a Deferred Sentence

In some instances, it will be possible to seek a deferred sentence. Basically, this means that the accused doesn’t need to complete the sentence now. They will be convicted and will have a criminal record at the time, but they will not need to go to jail. Instead, they must follow any instructions provided by the judge, such as taking certain classes and avoid being arrested for a specific period of time. If the accused is able to complete the judge’s instructions, the conviction will be removed and they will not have a criminal record, nor will they need to spend time in jail.

If the accused doesn’t complete the instructions provided by the judge, however, they will have to complete the sentence and will have a criminal record. This is most often used for those who do not have a conviction on their record and is typically used for those who are facing misdemeanor charges, though it is possible for someone facing a felony to seek a deferred sentence. It is up to the judge whether it will be allowed.

Appeal the Outcome of the Case

If nothing else can be done to avoid a conviction, the next step may be to go through the appeals process. Most defendants are able to appeal the conviction and see if they can have it reversed. In some cases, the conviction and the charges will be dismissed. In others, the case will go back to trial again with a new jury and possibly a new judge. The appeals process can be incredibly complicated and even when an appeal might be the obvious answer, it may not be the right one. It is always a good idea to speak with a lawyer about the possibility of appealing the sentence and whether a better outcome can be obtained this way. In some cases, an appeal simply may not be possible or won’t lead to the desired result.

Other Possible Solutions

These are the most common ways to try to avoid a felony conviction, but there may be other options for the accused to look into, as well. Each case is going to be different, so there may be unique options that are available, depending on the specific situation. Those who are accused of a crime and facing a felony charge will want to discuss all possible options with their lawyer as well as determine what the likelihood is of being able to avoid a conviction.

If you’re facing felony charges, now is the time to seek legal assistance. A lawyer can have a huge impact on how your case turns out and could be the difference between avoiding jail time or receiving the maximum potential penalties. Take the time to review all of the details of your case with a lawyer to determine what options exist for you and what the likelihood is of you being able to avoid a felony conviction on your record. Even if it seems impossible, there is a lot a lawyer can do to help.