Defending felony charges – Criminal law is categorized into two basic categories based on severity: misdemeanor charges and felony charges. Though both can have a long-term negative impact on your life, felony charges can result in more significant consequences. In this blog, we will discuss felony charges and several issues that follow them. Similar to all of our blogs, this is intended for general informational purposes only and not intended as a substitute for the advice and counsel of a criminal defense lawyer.
Defending Felony Charges:
All criminal charges should be taken seriously, but there is an added sense of urgency in felony charges. With felony charges, like all criminal charges, the presumption of innocence is on your side. There are three ways a criminal case can end; dismissal, a guilty plea, or a trial.
There are some distinct differences in North Carolina when defending a felony charge versus defending a misdemeanor charge. Those differences include but are not limited to:
- Criminal trials for felony charges are conducted in Superior Court.
- The defendant’s right to a jury trial (unlike having a bench trial for misdemeanors in District Court).
- The statutory right to discovery.
This differs from the process for defending a misdemeanor charge in District Court.
Consequences of Felony Charges:
Felony charges generally come with more serious consequences than misdemeanor charges. In addition to facing more potential prison time according to the sentencing guidelines, you also face more serious collateral consequences. These consequences include but are not limited to:
- The forfeiture of certain licenses
- The temporary loss of the ability to vote
- The prohibition from owning a gun
Procedural Concerns with Felony Charges:
The criminal court process is complicated for all levels of crimes but especially so for felonies. Felonies tend to have more court appearances, more procedural concerns, and they generally take longer to resolve.
The criminal justice system is complicated, and professional help is often necessary. If you or a loved one is facing felony charges, or any other type of criminal charge, you should contact an attorney immediately.