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Getting charged with a felony can be a frightening experience especially if you are new to criminal charges from the state. If a serious crime is committed a felony case is pursued by a prosecutor to bring justice. Federal felonies are committed at the national level rather than local level but both types of crimes carry similar punishment.
If you have been convicted with a felony, it’s imperative that you understand the gravity of the situation and the necessary steps to take to defend yourself. The most common felonies committed are murder, rape, aggravated assault, theft and arson.
After a felony charge has been filed by the state, four things are bound to happen:
- The details of the charge will be read to you
- The court will make certain that you are adequately represented by an attorney.
- The court will move to set a bond to secure your freedom before the trial commences.
- Finally the court will have to set a date for a preliminary hearing where your case will be heard before a judge.
The preliminary hearing
The next step to a felony case is the preliminary hearing where the onus is on the state to show that two things occurred:
- That a felony probably occurred to the victim and
- You committed it
At this stage because of the minimal requirements the state needs to prove, the case is often bound over to a circuit court for further arraignment in 40 days’ time.
Arraignment in a Circuit Court
If you have been arraigned to a circuit court, there are usually five things that can happen:
- The details of the trail will be reread to you to make sure you understand the gravity
- You will enter a plea of guilty or not guilty
- As usual the court will make it certain that you are adequately represented by a defense attorney.
- The court will secure a bond with limiting conditions to secure your freedom before the trial commences. You can employ the services of All-Pro Bail Bonds to make the bail bond process a hassle-free experience.
- Finally, the court will set a date for your trial
At this point the state will have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed the felony crime before the grand jury passes its verdict.
What are the penalties for a felony conviction?
For lesser-known crimes most state punishes offending parties with light community service, minimal jail time and fines that aren’t too weighty. However, a felony conviction carries very serious and weighty punishment than mere misdemeanor.
If a person is found to be guilty of a felony crime, he or she will be looking at serious jail time and large fines. If the crime is committed at a federal level the criminal is looking to serve time at a federal prison as opposed to local state prison.
The death penalty is the most serious punishment in a felony conviction case and it is only given if an individual is convicted of murder. Fortunately, an appeal process is mandatory but very complex and should be handled by a qualified defense attorney.
In some other cases, if you have been convicted of a felony the court may require that you pay restitution to the victim. Restitution often comes in financial compensation to the victim in question.
Probation and parole after a felony conviction
More often than not, the penalty for a felony charge can include probation or parole but certain conditions have to be met. The conditions looked into are:
- Past crime history
- Time spent in jail during trial or awaiting trial
Probation is the suspension of jail time if the criminal has proven to be very cooperative. Some felony cases require that the culprit serve jail time before probation is considered. However, it’s important to understand that probation is not total freedom; certain limitations are often placed to keep the criminal in check. If any of these conditions are broken, the criminal risk been set back to jail.
Parole on the other hand is the conditional release of the convicted criminal before the full jail time has been served. The criminal on parole must follow through with a strict set of rules and has to check in with a parole officer on a regular basis. Like probation, if a convicted criminal breaks any of the strict conditions he or she will be sent back to jail.
Appealing a felony conviction
If a criminal has been convicted of a felony, he has the option to appeal to a higher court if he feels that justice hasn’t been served. Be advised that appealing a criminal conviction is a very hard thing to do and should only be attempted by a skilled attorney who knows what he is doing. If you have to get a conviction reversed, he will have to prove that mistakes have been made in the criminal justice process during the initial trial. It’s better to seek legal advice on this matter.