As many people may already know, felonies are typically categorized as the serious criminal offences, in comparison to misdemeanors. If a defendant is found guilty of a felony they have been accused of the punishment is a minimum one-year in prison, which means not a county or local jail. Much like bonds, when you are charged with felonies you are also obligated to pay fines for your actions in most criminal cases, which can result in high amounts.
Serious types of felonies include but are not limited to murder, attempted murder, escaping from prison, assisting in the act of a felony, arson, and rape. There are several other crimes that are also considered felonies and you should learn these to ensure you avoid acting these crimes out.
You may also be familiar with the term “misdemeanor” but have never understood its difference from a felony. Misdemeanors are not as serious as felonies and are often resolved by paying off fines, attending classes as a form of rehabilitation, or jail time as opposed to prison time. It is easy to depict what type of crime was committed based on time served or given. There are certain factors that could escalate a misdemeanor to a felony. Crimes that typical remain misdemeanors are vandalism, trespassing and theft, amongst a few others. In the event that there is the use if a deadly weapon during the commission of a misdemeanor, there is now room to escalate the charge. If there was a theft committed at a small convenience store, this is a misdemeanor. However, if this theft involved the use of a deadly weapon such as a pocketknife it then becomes an aggravated crime, aggravated theft. When this occurs, there is a possibility of more felony related punishments and conditions such as longer jail time or larger fines to pay.
Without the knowledge it is difficulty to understand the trouble you potentially face when committed a crime. Felonies are misdemeanors are very different but share several similarities that would advice an attorney to ensure you are not taken advantage of in the courtroom. Skilled Decatur lawyers at Andrew R. Lynch, P.C. will be able to educate you of your rights as they pertain to your state and area, as well as possibly defend you if you are brought in front of a judge. If you or a loved has been charged with a felony, speak with an attorney sooner than later so that you all may receive the best options available to you.
Criminal Defense Attorney Atlanta, GA
Ok, so you have been accused of a crime you may or may not have committed and pleading guilty is the furthest thing away from your mind at this time. If you or someone you know has been wrongfully accused or if you do not want to plead guilty, you will be taking your case to trial. When you are not an attorney, the courtroom may not be your favorite place. However, it is important to know what goes on in trial so that you are well aware of the process you have signed up for.
While you cannot always determine the time-span of your trial, there are certain steps that will allow you to know how close you are to the end. There are six practical steps in a trial:
- Jury selection
- Opening Statements by Defense and Prosecution
- Witness Testimony
- The Closing Arguments
- Jury Instructions Are Given
- Jury Discussion and Verdict Announcement
Several of people in the community are asked to appear in court for “Jury Duty”. This is when a few people are interviewed and asked very precise questions by the defense and prosecution. The defense is due a fair trial so the extensive interviews are to pick out those that may be prejudice or are in no way fit to sit as a juror.
Opening Statements by Defense and Prosecution
At this time, the legal counsel of both involved parties summarize their version of the facts of the case as to explain to the jury the direction of the case and what exactly has gone on.
Witnesses are cross-examined by opposing counsel. This is designed to allow the opposing side to ask you questions that will somehow benefit their argument or discredit the other parties’ argument. This does not mean that the witness is guilty, but that there is some information that the witness provides that will change or confirm the facts of the case.
Once all of the evidence is presented, and all reasonable questions are asked and answered by the witnesses, the closing argument gives the defense and the prosecution the time to sum up the case. Both sides will then take what occurred in the trial, and their opening statement and in a sense plead their case for the last time.
Jury Instructions Are Given
This is when the judge explains to the jury what it is they must do with the information that they have gathered. There are legal guidelines that must be followed and this is the time the jury is informed of what they are.
There is no say exactly how long this part may take; in some cases the evidence is so clear it takes a short time for a jury to make a final decision or verdict. In other cases it can take days.
This is not something that you will want to go through alone. No matter your charge, be sure to speak with a courtroom experienced criminal defense attorney Atlanta, GA relies on at Andrew R. Lynch, P.C. that understands how a trial works, and will be able to fight for you while you go through it.
Throughout the process of a trial, witness statements are the most important and longest part of the time spent in court, of course other than the jury deliberation towards the end. A witness testimony is a piece of evidence by an involved (to some degree) party in a case. Normally, both legal counsel parties will ask the witness questions, and based on the oath taken prior to speaking it is believed that the information given by the witness is the truth. You are not also obligated to speak in a courtroom if you decide, or are called to be a witness; they can also be written and submitted into evidence. If you lie under oath while giving your witness statement this is considered perjury, the information you provide as a witness is looked at as hardcore fact and can be the largest deciding factor in a criminal case so it is imperative that the information provided by you is accurate and correct.
If you have decided to provide a witness statement or are called as a witness in a case, be sure to replay the facts of the incident you have been called to testify about. When your memory is refreshed you are able to give clear and concise details. Attorneys will ask questions that may confuse you; they will even try to manipulate you into saying things that benefit their argument. So it is important to listen carefully to the questions asked of you, they may be asked several ways and several times so you must be sure to have understood what you have answered and that you know what you are talking about.
While this may be your first time as a witness, and testifying in court, always remember to be as truthful as possible and calm your nerves. If you are not asked a question, do not volunteer information. Do not lie under oath, or share your testimony with anyone once you are done. It is wise to speak with an attorney that has experience in the courtroom or cross-examining witnesses. This way, if you are faced with the task of becoming a witness in a case, you know how to testify in court the right way. The skilled Decatur attorneys at Andrew R. Lynch, P.C. will be able to prepare you for the pressures of the courtroom, and also help you practice giving a testimony by questioning you the way opposing counsel may question you in court. You are not obligated to go through this alone.