Note: This post has been contributed.
As US law states, the more serious the crime, the more severe the punishment. However, while that tells you how the legal system is staggered in terms of how felons are expected to pay for crimes they commit, it does not tell you what the consequences of committing a felony means. Smaller crimes are called misdemeanors, and these are much less serious than felonies, and so have much less serious consequences; usually, they result in a fine and no further action.
However, being convicted of a felony is much more serious and can result in many long-term issues in terms of your career and lifestyle, not to mention the fact a felony, depending on the grade, may result in jail time. Of course, it’s advised that to prevent these kinds of issues occurring; you should aim to avoid committing a felony. However, if you’ve already committed a felony, then you may be wondering what the consequences will be and just how serious the ramifications will be for you.
What are the possible punishments for a felony?
When it comes to dealing with felonies, it’s important to understand that the exact punishment will depend on the state that you live in. The fact is that every state has its own methods of managing felonies, and so the consequences change from state to state. However, usually, felony crimes are considered to be more serious and include things such as murder, rape, arson, assault, and theft.
In most states, crimes lesser than these are punished with fines and community service rather than jail time. Of course, felonies are ranked from A to E with A being the most serious and E being the least serious. Class A felonies can earn you life without parole or any other long period of time. While a class B through to class D felony can carry a maximum penalty of six to 25 years in jail, and class E comes with a penalty of up to 3 years in jail.
It’s important to understand that it isn’t rare for a felony to include both prison time and a fine. You may also be made to legally compensate the victim or the family of the victim as part of your punishment and rehabilitation.
Can you appeal a felony conviction?
If you are faced with a felony conviction that you believe is not a fair one, or there’s reason to believe that you are innocent, then you do have the opportunity to appeal to a higher court. However, that being said, appealing a criminal conviction is something that can be very difficult to do, and something that you will need a lot of hard evidence and a very good legal team for. That being said, it can be successfully done.
It’s important to understand that if you choose to appeal your sentence, then your defense attorney will need to be able to show that a mistake has been made somewhere in terms of your case and the evidence that supports it. If you aren’t happy with the felony charge that you have received and believe it hasn’t been given fairly, then talking to an expert in criminal defense law is highly recommended.
Can your conviction be expunged?
When you are convicted of a felony, regardless of what grade felony, it will remain on your record forever. This means that it can have long-term consequences, such as preventing you from working in certain sectors, such as working with children. It can also limit your employment opportunities as very few companies are keen to take on people who have felonies on their records.
Of course, this does depend on the type of felony that you were convicted of - lesser crimes tend to offer more in terms of career opportunities because of their less severe nature. However, because a felony remains on your record forever, this is why some people seek to have it expunged so that it is removed completely.
What is expungement? This is when your criminal record is destroyed completely, which makes it as if the crime never happened. However, when it comes to the process of expungement, it’s important to understand that there are some very strict rules in place regarding who can and cannot be expunged. These rules are set out by the state, and each state has rules that differ slightly, meaning that getting expunged changes from state to state. In some states no one with a felony on their record can be expunged, in other only non-violent felonies can be expunged.
For anyone looking to get their records expunged, it’s important to consult with a specialist criminal lawyer who is familiar with the process that needs to be undertaken to get the wheels in motion. However, it’s important to understand that when it comes to expungement, there is never any guarantee of success. You can attempt to get expunged, and with a very good lawyer you may well succeed, but there’s never any guarantee of success. It very much depends on a wide range of variable, from the crime you committed and your attorney to the state you are in and the judge’s temperament.
The truth is that being accused of committing a felony can be completely life-altering. Being convicted with a crime that comes with a felony is serious and can have life-long implications, making it much more difficult for you to lead a normal life. Career opportunities become vastly limited, and there’s also a risk that you won’t be able to work with children or even care for children, including your own children. You could also face jail time, which can be anything from a few months to life without parole.
Felonies are serious, and it’s important to understand that. While you may have the opportunity to apply for your conviction to be overturned or your record to be wiped clean, that doesn’t mean that these things will happen. Unless, of course, you have adequate evidence to prove that you are innocent or that some of the important evidence was not taken into account when you were tried for your crimes.