After you are charged with a criminal offense, the first thing you should do is reach out to a criminal defense attorney. The unfortunate truth is that the criminal law process in the United States is complicated and drawn out. You should also keep in mind that the criminal law process is nothing like you see on television in your favorite crime shows. Television shows and movies tend to glamorize the process.
Unsurprisingly, most people are not in a good state of mind after they have been charged with a crime. Whether you committed the crime or not you would be hard-pressed to represent yourself in court. You need legal representation so you have someone with a clear mind defend you.
Crimes fall into one of two categories. The crime you committed was either a felony or it was a misdemeanor. A felony is the more severe of the two. Felonies almost always lead to jail time. Felonies can include:
A misdemeanor is a less severe crime. It can, however, still result in jail time. Typically it is less than a year unless you have committed the same crime more than once. Some misdemeanors include:
- Drug possession
One of the main goals of the defense lawyer that you hire will be to do what they can to get your charges reduced to a misdemeanor. A misdemeanor will do a whole lot less damage to your record and your future. Individuals who have a felony on their record have a hard time getting a place to live, getting a license, and even getting a job. The unfortunate truth is that some landlords do not want to rent to people with a felony on their record and some employers do not want to hire people with a felony on their record. Naturally, it does depend on the nature of your crime. If you have a felony that involves stealing or robbery, you can kiss having a job in retail or sales goodbye. No one is going to want to hire someone who has a record of committing crimes that involve stealing.