The most serious crimes are felonies. Only felonies provide for jail sentences longer than one year or for confinement in a prison. Misdemeanors provide for sentences of less than one year and only provide for confinement in a local jail. The penalties for felonies can be very severe, and include sentences ranging all the way up to life in prison without the possibility of parole and the death penalty. I do not handle death penalty cases, but I have handled most other types of blue collar criminal cases. The more serious the charge is the greater is your need for competent and knowledgeable representation. Below are the basic sentencing provisions. Keep in mind that some crimes carry mandatory sentences that do not appear in this basic chart.
|Degree of Felony
||Three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, or ten years
||Two, three, four, five, six, seven, or eight years
||One, two, three, four, or five years.
||Six to eighteen months
||Six to twelve months. ;
When you are charged with a crime you have certain rights. Those rights include the following:
- The right to know and understand the charge or charges against you, and the maximum penalties for the charged offenses.
- The right to have an attorney represent you.
- The right to be represented by counsel at all critical stages of these proceedings, even if you intend to plead Guilty.
- The right to a reasonable continuance to secure counsel.
- The right to have counsel assigned to you without cost if you are "indigent" and if jail time or a prison sentence is a possibility. If you cannot afford an attorney one will be appointed to represent you at no immediate charge. You can be ordered to pay the cost of that attorney if you are convicted of the crime.
- The right to a Jury Trial in any case where a jail sentence is possible. You must demand a Jury Trial in writing in a misdemeanor case. In a felony case you will get a trial by jury unless you waive it.
- The right to waive a Jury Trial and have your case tried before a Judge or in some cases a three judge panel.
- The right to remain silent and make no statement at any point in the proceeding. Any statement made may be used against you. No inference of guilt can be made from your silence.
- The right to confront the witnesses against you.
- The right to present witnesses and have the Court subpoena witnesses on your behalf.
- The right to reasonable bail.
These are valuable rights, but people often give them up by pleading guilty without even consulting an attorney. The mere fact that you are charged does not mean that you will be found guilty. You will be charged in a felony case a grand jury indictment. The grand jury only hears the evidence the state chooses to present, and only determines that there is enough evidence for you to be charged. Frequently people who are indicted are found not guilty. Famous examples include O. J. Simpson and Casey Anthony. A good criminal defense lawyer will review all of the evidence that can be used against you and assess the likelihood that the state can get a conviction. He will then advise you about the strategy he recommends for your case. I have had cases as serious as rape dismissed. Some courts have deferred prosecution programs that apply to first non-violent offenses that allow you in effect to serve probation without a conviction, and if you complete your probation the charge is dismissed. Often arrangements known as plea bargains can allow you to plead to lesser charges.
Felony defenses are costly, but when you are charged with a felony you have a great deal at stake. You don't want to take short cuts or trust your case to an attorney who doesn't have the experience to examine every possible avenue to help you. I can help you with your fee by accepting payment by credit card.
If you are charged with a felony, please contact me to discuss your case.
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104 East Main Street P.O. Box 40
Fayette, OH 43521