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Know how the criminal charge type can affect you

When you find out that you are charged with a crime, you have to find out the classification of the charges. Typically, criminal charges fall under two categories -- felonies or misdemeanors. Of these two, felonies are the most serious. This doesn't mean that you can ignore misdemeanors. In cases involving each type of criminal charge, you can face penalties that go beyond the court-imposed penalties.

The penalties that the court imposes on various crimes is something that you must think about when you are preparing your defense. Typically, felony charges are associated with longer periods of a incarceration and higher fines.

The location of incarceration is something else that differs according to the charge type. You will likely serve your incarceration sentence in a state prison if you are convicted of a felony. That time will almost always be served in a city or parish jail if you are convicted of a misdemeanor.

Being convicted of a felony means that you are labeled a felon for the rest of your life. This will prevent you from holding certain jobs and being able to exercise some of your rights. For example, felons aren't likely going to be able to have a firearm. Your right to vote is also affected as long as you are still completing your sentence.

When you consider these effects of a criminal conviction, you can see why it is imperative to work hard on a defense. You should explore all of the options that you have so that you can move forward with your case. Knowing your options also helps you to make informed decisions at each step of the case.

Source: FindLaw, "What Distinguishes a Misdemeanor From a Felony?," accessed March 24, 2017

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