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Felony: The FAQS

Felonies are the most serious kinds of crime in the United States.

In common law, the term felony traditionally referred to crimes that offended moral standards. Most felonies still fall into this category in some way. Because they are considered a violation of community standards, they tend to be punished heavily. Most people who are convicted of a felony will pay a large fine, spend time in jail, or suffer other life-altering consequences. Most need the help of a good bail bondsman.

What Crimes Are Considered Felonies?

The most serious crimes are classified as felonies, including murder, kidnapping, and sexual assault. It is not surprising that these crimes are considered violations of community moral standards. However, there are also times when it is surprising that a crime is a felony. Shoplifting, for example, may be a felony in some circumstances. Selling marijuana also can be a felony at times. Many crimes also can be felonies or misdemeanors depending on the circumstances.

The classification of crimes into misdemeanor (less serious) and felony (more serious) categories sometimes seems arbitrary. However, there are consequences to the way crimes are classified. A misdemeanor conviction usually does not lead to jail time; at most, the convicted will get up to one year. A felony conviction, on the other hand, often leads to decades of imprisonment. There are also other serious consequences when a crime is classified as a felony.

The Consequences of a Felony

Because a felony is considered the most serious type of crime, there are very harsh consequences for a conviction. As discussed before, felony convictions often lead to time spent incarcerated. This can be anywhere from a few months to a life sentence. Some felonies even may qualify for the death penalty. In addition, many states have “three strikes” laws that apply to felonies. Due to these laws, a person who is convicted of three felonies may be imprisoned for life. This occurs even when the felonies were all relative minor crimes, such as shoplifting.

Felonies can have especially grave consequences for immigrants. Being accused of a felony is grounds for deportation. Most immigrants who are convicted will be sent back to their homeland and not allowed to enter the United States again.

A felony conviction also can affect your future in ways most people do not expect. For example, future employers will see your criminal record on a background check. Many may refuse to hire you because of this. People also may be denied professional licenses, rental housing, and even lose custody of their children because of a felony record.

When You Are Accused of a Felony

Because felonies carry such huge consequences, it is crucial to begin fighting the potential conviction as soon as a person is accused. Once they are arrested, it is important to contact a bail bonds company immediately. This will allow the accused party to get out of jail as quickly as possible so they can get legal assistance and begin building a case. Getting an experienced criminal lawyer is also important. An attorney who specializes in defending against felony charges can often find technicalities or holes in the prosecution’s case that allow the defendant to go free. Even if they cannot get the charges dropped, a lawyer can help to get charges reduced to misdemeanors or to be sentenced to a punishment that allows people to move on with their lives.

A felony is a very serious crime, one that may have lifelong consequences. However, people can and have successfully fought felony charges with the help of a bail bondsmen and an attorney. While a criminal charge is always scary, the way a person handles themselves will make all the difference.

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