Facing criminal charges is overwhelming and frightening, especially if you are unsure exactly what you are up against. One of the first steps you will want to take is to learn more about the nature of the charges you face. This will help you know what you need to do to fight back and protect your long-term interests.
An important aspect of your case is whether you are facing a felony or misdemeanor charge. There are important distinctions between these two types of crimes, and they have significant meaning for your defense, the potential penalties you are facing and much more. You will find it helpful to learn as much as you can about the charges so that you can more effectively prepare a strong defense plan.
Defending against felony charges
Felonies are the most serious type of crime. These are offenses that are punishable by lengthy periods in North Carolina state or federal prisons. Not all felonies are equal, however. There are different classes of felonies that determine how much time a person could spend behind bars if convicted.
For example, a person convicted of a Class A felony could face the death penalty or life in prison. While still a very serious criminal charge, a person facing a Class E felony may spend more than one year but less than five years in prison. The classification of the offense depends on the nature of the alleged crime.
Defending against misdemeanor charges
A misdemeanor offense is not as serious a felony charge, but it can have serious implications for your life. A misdemeanor is any criminal offense punishable by one year or less behind bars. Like felony charges, there are different types of misdemeanor offenses. Class A misdemeanors can result in six months to one year in jail, while a Class C misdemeanor can result in anywhere from five to 30 days in jail.
The right defense strategy for you
The right approach for your defense depends on several things, including the nature of the charges against you, your criminal record and more. There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all defense strategy, which is why it is smart to seek personal legal counsel as soon as possible after an arrest. Whether you are facing a felony or misdemeanor charge, your future opportunities, reputation and personal freedoms are at stake. It's smart to act quickly to learn how you can fight back.