5 Top Things to Know About a First Time Offenders FelonyPosted:
You’re facing first time felony charges for cocaine possession. You’re scared and don’t know what to do. You’ve heard that felony charges are a serious matter.
However, you have no idea what a felony means. What is a felony charge?
A felony charge applies to serious offenses and carries longer sentences. They normally comprise violent crimes or drug crimes. However, a first time offenders felony charge may come with lighter charges.
This article will show you how to navigate the legal system in light of a first offense felony. Let’s explore.
1. Less Prison Time
In some cases, first time felony charges may come with sentences that don’t include prison time. However, this depends on such factors as:
- State law
- Judge’s discretion
- Nature of the offense
- Criminal background of the defendant
In most cases, felonies carry a minimum of one year in prison. You can also get a lower sentence if you have a non-violent background, or have never been in trouble with the law. Depending on the offense, you may avoid jail time altogether.
- Example: If you’re convicted of a third-degree felony that’s non-violent, the judge may sentence you to a diversion program. A diversion may include community service, counseling, or restitution. The state will dismiss the charges if you complete the program.
You may also participate in a drug program and avoid felony charges. However, drug programs depend on the state’s prerogative.
2. Drug Crimes
You may also be wondering: when does a drug charge become a felony?
Primarily, a drug charge can occur if you possess certain drugs, such as heroin or cocaine. You’re less likely to get a felony conviction for marijuana possession. You may get probation from minor drug convictions.
3. The Probation Factor
Regardless of the felony charges, you will most likely get probation. Probation occurs when you serve your sentence outside of jail. During probation, you must check in with a probation officer regularly. The court may also order you to attend the following locations:
- Halfway house
- Treatment center
- Designated residence
If you violate the probation, a judge will sentence you to prison.
4. Don’t Post Bail Immediately
Many people make the mistake of posting bail immediately. However, posting bail too quickly is a mistake, especially for a first offense.
- Example: A bail bondsmen will offer a reduced fee if you have an attorney.
Or, a lawyer can tell you if the court will drop your case, saving you the headache of posting bail. Regardless, you should hire a private attorney for first time felony charges.
5. The Importance of a Private Attorney
An attorney is a better option than a public defender. Public defenders handle many cases. As a result, they may not give your case the full attention it deserves.
You stand a better chance of reduced charges or case dismissals with an attorney that will devote full attention to your case.
First Time Offenders Felony Charges for Repeat Offenders
A first time offenders felony charge will most likely come with a harsher sentence if you have a criminal record. And, you may be subject to mandatory sentencing that carries longer sentences.
However, you may get a lighter sentence if you have a cleaner record. Regardless of your background, you should hire an attorney immediately. And, you should avoid talking to the police unless your attorney is with you.
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