What to do if you are accused of committing a serious crime? Understanding definition, potential penalties, sentencing & conviction and hiring criminal defense attorney.
Have you been accused of committing a serious crime? If so, it is important to be aware of what you are potentially facing. The severity of the crime will determine the penalties, but if convicted you could face time in prison, fines, community service, probation, or restitution. It is important to have a criminal lawyer with experience defending these cases on your side.
1. What is a “serious crime”?
A serious crime is any crime that carries an incarceration sentence of more than 1 year. The term “serious crime” can be misleading because it doesn’t limit the crimes to murder or any other type of heinous crime. A minor theft, for example, could also be considered a serious crime.
If you are accused of committing a serious crime, you need to take the charges seriously. That means you should meet with an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Criminal defense attorneys know what to do in this situation and will be able to help. If you are not sure where to find one, and you happen to be at Wichita at the time of arrest or an accusation, you can use Google to search for a criminal defense attorney in Wichita or contact your local bar association to get referrals of potential attorneys you can hire. Moreover, you can even ask the police officer to provide you with such information.
2. The penalties for committing a crime
If the crime is a misdemeanor, the penalties could include a fine or jail time. The sentence will depend on whether or not it was your first offense and how large the actual damage was.
If you are convicted of a felony, then that means you committed an aggravating crime such as theft or forced assault with intent to commit rape which can carry larger fines and more years in prison. It’s important to understand that felonies usually require higher punishments than misdemeanors do, often including mandatory imprisonment because they’re considered “aggravated” crimes.
3. Sentencing guidelines
Judges usually follow rigid sentencing guidelines, but these don’t offer a lot of flexibility and sometimes they can even seem unfair. The final decision is up to the judge’s discretion, however. Of course, that doesn’t mean you should simply give up on defending yourself. The only way to be sure that you and your attorney are on the same page is to meet with them as soon as possible. A criminal defense attorney can be a great help during this time and will defend you every step of the way. They will be able to tell you what outcome to expect and what they plan on doing to help achieve it.
4. What happens if you are convicted?
The penalties for committing a crime will depend on the severity of the crime. If you are convicted, these are some of the potential outcomes:
- You could serve time in prison (usually 1 year or less)
- You can receive probation, which is when you’re released from jail but required to meet with your parole officer and follow all the rules he or she sets out for you. If you violate a term of your probation, then you can go back to jail.
- You may have to pay a fine, which is an amount that must be paid in full within a certain timeframe. If you fail to pay it in time, then you are breaking the law.
- You may have to complete some form of community service, usually at a non-profit or charitable agency. The number of hours varies depending on several factors, including the severity of the crime and your criminal history if any.
If you are found guilty of committing a crime, you may also be required to pay restitution. Restitution is the act of reimbursing or paying back victims for any damage or injuries incurred as a result of the crime. Restitution can include things like:
- Medical expenses. These might include medical bills, physical therapy costs, etc.
- Lost income. If the crime caused harm to a person’s employment, you may be required to pay them for any lost wages. In some cases, the court will actually garnish your future earnings if you do not have enough funds to make restitution on your own.
- Property damage costs. Any of the victim’s property that was damaged during the crime would have to be paid for.
- Any other damages that occur as a result of the crime, such as emotional suffering or mental trauma.
6. How long will this process take?
Unfortunately, it can take quite some time for your case to close after being accused of committing a serious crime. There are several variables that can affect the length of time, such as:
- The severity of the crime
- Your criminal history and how it may influence the case
- How much evidence there is against you
- Whether or not your trial will be a jury trial
- If you decide to hire a private attorney or if you qualify for a public defender
- If there are any complications or problems that may prolong the case
If you are accused of committing a serious crime, it is important to be aware that the seriousness and type of the crime will determine what penalties you could face. The severity of your sentence can range from time in prison, fines, community service, or restitution. It is best to have an experienced criminal lawyer on your side who has defended these types of cases before because they know how long this process takes and what to expect.