When you’re charged with a crime, one of the most important things you and your lawyer need to know is whether you were charged with a felony or a misdemeanor. The main difference is in severity of punishment, but there can be other differences in how your trial case in Lexington, KY is handled, from arrest to sentencing.

How to find out if you’re charged with a felony or misdemeanor

If you’ve been charged with a crime, the prosecutor will file what’s called a “charging document” that offers a specific list of everything the district attorney’s office thinks you did, as well as the applicable state or federal penal code statutes that they think apply. This is to give your lawyer a chance to research the applicable laws and build a defense against them (for example, the crime charged didn’t happen, or it didn’t happen the way they said it did, or it couldn’t have happened because of key information).
It’s likely that the prosecutor will list multiple crimes of varying severity in an effort to “get you on something.” This is because, if the case proceeds to trial, they will try to convince the jury that even if you weren’t guilty of, for example, first degree murder, you were at least guilty of manslaughter.

Felonies

Felony charges in Lexington, KY are the most severe criminal charges, which include punishments and other consequences that total over a year in prison. Each felony is categorized by class, which gives a general guideline of how long sentencing can be. They range from capital offenses (20 years’ incarceration to the death penalty) through Class A to D felonies, whose punishments range from one to 50 years in prison, or life in prison. Fines can range from zero to $10,000.

Some felony convictions carry with them other consequences—sex crimes may require you to register as a sex offender, for example. People convicted of felonies cannot serve on juries, possess firearms and engage in a range of other activities, including law (dependent on the crime), teaching or even serving in the military.

Misdemeanors

Generally, misdemeanor charges in Lexington, KY are those crimes punishable by less than a year in a county correctional facility, but can also include fines and other punishments.

In both cases, as a citizen of the United States, you are entitled under the U.S. Constitution to have an attorney appointed if you cannot afford one. If you are charged with a crime, you should assert your right to an attorney and get expert legal help immediately.

When you’re charged with a crime, there’s no time to waste. You need an experienced and skilled attorney who can bring aggressive representation on your behalf during your trial case in Lexington, KY. For all of your felony and misdemeanor legal needs, contact Oakley & Oakley LLC. We have 30 years’ worth of experience in representing our clients, and specialize in criminal defense on both the state and federal levels. Call us today for a free consultation. We look forward to helping you.