Being charged with a felony ought to be taken seriously, and even saying that is an understatement. Felonies are the most serious criminal offenses for which an individual can be charged and convicted. Unlike misdemeanors, for which conviction can result in no more than one year (12 months) incarceration in a county jail in addition to the potential imposition of fines up to $1,000, a felony conviction can result in an incarceration term from as short as one year to as long as the remainder of one’s natural life. Moreover, depending upon the nature of the crime, specifically in the case of murder, an individual can essentially forfeit his or her life if sentenced to capital punishment (the death penalty). But, one’s life can be catastrophically affected by a conviction without the death penalty. Depending upon the class of felony, lengthy prison terms, stringent probation (conditions), cost-prohibitive fines, and compulsory sex offender registry are all punitive possibilities. Individuals with professional careers such as physician, teacher, attorney, etc. can even face temporary suspension or lifetime revocation of their licenses, leading to an inability to provide for oneself, especially if the convicted is an older individual for which a career change is not feasible, especially in such an economic climate.
Speaking to our firm as soon as you are charged is the most prudent form of action you can take. We offer a complimentary, introductory consultation to go over your case. An early defense preparation can only help your case. Procrastination is not your friend; delaying finding counsel, especially for a felony matter, can deprive you and your attorney of the critically needed time to discuss your case, including the particulars, and begin the often tedious but needed process of filing requests for discovery documents in order to see just what evidence the Prosecutor will be using against you. Our job, and one we take very seriously, is to advise you and advocate for you in the hope that you are not convicted. However, the reality of some cases does not always make this possible. Therefore, we promise you that while we will vehemently fight for you in the courtroom in order to achieve a not guilty verdict, in the event you are found guilty, we use all of our power to help you achieve a just resolution, which would optimally involve the imposition of less than maximum fines and/or incarceration. While there are non-violence based felony charges, the most well-known felony charges tend to concern an offense toward another person’s body, including the ultimate offense, which is the taking of another life. In such a case, charges are only brought if the Prosecutor believes that the killing was not justified, and therefore not an instance of self-defense. Types of felony offenses in our state include robbery, aggravated assault, murder, forcible rape, and drug trafficking. Drug trafficking itself is not related to violence, however, state governments have long held the view that the illicitness of drug trafficking breeds violent environments (within communities) and activities, therefore explaining in great part why a person convicted of trafficking can be sentenced to as much or more time as someone who murdered someone.
Felony charges and convictions are serious in any event, but they are particularly onerous in California because of our Three Strikes Law. As the name implies, individuals are given three shots at being law-abiding citizens. Criminals convicted of serious offenses, particularly if they are violent, will have their first mark or “strike” put on their criminal record. With each successive conviction, there are increasing penalties, in addition to “strikes.” Conceivably, by the time an individual commits their third offense and is convicted, of a violent or non-violent offense, one can be sentenced to a prison terms of twenty-five years to life imprisonment.
As such, hiring competent counsel, qualified in successfully trying felony matters is one’s best course of action in such a trying instance.