When it comes to criminal law, felonies are very serious crimes. They can be violent or non-violent, and usually result in incarceration for at least one year, if convicted. This imprisonment will take place in a state prison, rather than a county or local facility. Finally, criminal fines for felonies can amount to thousands of dollars.
Common felonies include homicide, attempted murder, arson, certain types of burglary, human trafficking, criminal damage to property, escaping from prison, or assisting in a felony. Whether other crimes are considered a felony will depend on the local and state jurisdiction under which they were committed.
Felony vs. Misdemeanor
In contrast with misdemeanor crimes, felonies are more serious. Misdemeanors often result in a small fine or time spent in a county jail. These charges might include petty theft, vandalism, or trespassing.
Of course, certain misdemeanors can be upgraded to felonies if aggravating factors like assault are present in the crime. Drunk driving, domestic violence, and embezzlement are misdemeanor charges that are often upgraded to reflect the severity of the crime.
There are many consequences to pleading guilty or being found guilty of a felony, including:
- A permanent criminal record. Once you have a felony conviction, having it expunged is difficult, if not impossible. In many situations, you’ll be barred from expungement from the beginning.
- Harsh penalties. Unlike misdemeanors, which often end in probation or fines, felony charges nearly always end in state prison. This is especially true if you have a criminal history or the charges in question were particularly severe.
- Difficulty in renting a home. Many landlords have rules against convicted felons. If you’re asked for permission to conduct a background check, a felony charge will more than likely disqualify you from obtaining a lease.
- Difficulty in finding a job. Nearly all businesses require a background check before hiring. As long as they have a legitimate business reason to refuse you, they may turn you away. Even if they don’t have a clear reason, they’ll likely do it anyway.
- Denial for financial aid and scholarships. If you’re charged with a federal crime before attending college, you won’t be eligible for federal student loans – in addition to many private scholarships and grants.
- Inability to own a gun. In the state of California, you cannot own a firearm once you’ve been convicted of a felony. Lifting this ban is incredibly difficult, and requires a complicated legal proceeding.
- You could be deported. If you are an undocumented immigrant, a felony conviction will likely lead to deportation from the country.
There are many more reasons to avoid being convicted of a felony, but these are perhaps the most severe. An experienced criminal defense attorney may be able to help you earn a lower sentence, thus avoiding these life-altering complications.
Contact a Criminal Defense Attorney for Representation
At Premier Federal Criminal Defenders, we specialize in protecting our clients from harsh felony sentences and the consequences that come with them. Contact our experienced team of criminal defense attorneys for representation and assistance.