What Happens After a Felony Conviction
In general, the more serious the crime, the more severe the punishment. For example, if found guilty of a misdemeanor crime, you may only have to pay a fine. But if a court issues a felony conviction, then you may be facing multiple years in prison.
Being convicted of a felony is a serious event. Felony convictions can result in all kinds of consequences, from hefty fines to making employment more difficult. Of course, the best way to stave off a felony conviction is to not commit a felony. Even if accused of a felony, you can still find the best criminal attorney at the best criminal law firm to try to clear your name.
In the end, though, no matter how much people try to avoid them, felony convictions happen.
Possible Punishments for a Felony Conviction
Each state has its own laws governing what constitutes a felony crime, as well as the corresponding punishment. Therefore, if you have questions about a specific felony in your state or a specific sentence, it is best to consult with a criminal defense attorney or a criminal law expert in your jurisdiction.
In general, though, felonies are crimes considered to be more serious infractions than other crimes. Examples of felonies include:
- Assault, specifically if the incident causes severe bodily harm
- Theft, specifically if the amount stolen reaches a certain monetary threshold
Most states punish those convicted of lesser crimes with things like community service, fines, and jail time under a year, but felonies receive much harsher punishments. It isnt rare for a felony to include several years in prison, a large fine, or both.
In addition, you may be ordered by the court to pay what is known as restitution. Restitution is when someone convicted of a crime must financially compensate a victim or a victims family.
Finally, if state law allows for it and the crime is especially serious, there is the possibility that you could receive the death penalty as a result of a felony conviction.
Probation and Parole
Depending on the type of felony you commit, as well as a number of other factors including your past criminal history, you and your criminal defense attorney may be able to reduce your punishment.
Specifically, you could may be eligible for probation. Probation is the suspension of jail time. Sometimes an individual must serve some sort of a prison term before being put on probation, but other times a convicted felon may be able to seek probation in place of any jail time.
Probation, however, does not mean you are completely free. There are certain conditions you must meet, such as maintaining a job and getting counseling. In addition, any violation of the terms of your probation could result in severe penalties, such as imprisonment.
For those sentenced to prison after a felony conviction, parole is another possibility. Parole is the conditional release of a convicted criminal before the full prison sentence has been served.
In some ways, parole is similar to probation. You must adhere to a strict set of conditions. Parolees-those on parole-must check in with a parole officer on regular basis, often weekly. A violation of these terms will send the parolee back to prison.
Appealing a Felony Conviction
Appealing to a higher court is an option if you are faced with a felony conviction. However, appealing a criminal conviction can be very difficult to do.
When making an appeal, you and your criminal defense attorney will have to show that some mistake was made in the criminal justice process during the initial trial.
If you are interested in learning more about appealing a criminal conviction, you should speak to a criminal law lawyer.
Expunging a Felony Conviction
A felony stays on your record forever. This can have far-reaching consequences, such as limiting your employment opportunities. That is why some choose to try to scrub their criminal records in a process known as expungement.
Expungement is when a criminal record is destroyed, making it as if the criminal conviction never happened. There are strict rules surrounding expungement. These rules are established by the state. In some jurisdictions, no one found guilty of a felony can expunge their criminal records. In other states, only non-violent felonies can be expunged.
If you are interested in expunging your records, you will want to consult with a criminal lawyer who is familiar with the laws in your state.