felony; misdemeanor; criminal defense; jail; prison; criminal defense

Do You Know the Difference between  Misdemeanor and Felony Defense?

Are you facing a criminal charge for a misdemeanor or felony? Do you know the difference between these two types of charges? Did you know that in some instances a case can be a misdemeanor or felony, depending on what the prosecutor decides to do? Maybe you didn’t know any of this? It’s OK if you didn’t. I wouldn’t expect you to – that’s my job.

Felony cases are serious. Very serious. Harvey Weinstein, for example, is facing a number of felony charges. The Weinstein case is everywhere these days and will surely only heat up from here. 

Understanding the differences between a misdemeanor and felony is important, particularly if you’re looking for a felony defense attorney. The difference can impact your life, your family, your freedom. Finding an attorney that regularly and comfortably handles felony cases can make a world of difference. Here’s why.

Felony Convictions Have Bigger Consequences

You’ve probably seen enough Law & Order to know that felony charges can result in more significant consequences. Misdemeanors involve less serious offenses, such as shoplifting, trespassing, possession of drugs of a small amount, or vandalism. They are usually punishable by a fine or less than a year in jail.  But even theft or damage to property can be considered a felony based on how much money is at stake.  Not every felony involves serious assault, murder, or conspiracy, despite what TV would have you believe

Because felonies are considered more serious crimes than misdemeanors, they carry heavier penalties, including fines and long prison sentences. Convicted felons often lose civil rights, such as the ability to vote or own a gun. And prosecutors in felony cases may try to secure the longest sentence possible to satisfy the public, particularly if the case has a lot of media attention. Think about the criminal trials of Casey Anthony and O.J. Simpson.  Even one of my local cases was covered in the media exhaustively before I was hired. If you or a family member is facing a felony charge, do not talk to police, investigators, or the media without consulting an experienced attorney first! 

Felony Cases Have Unpredictable Outcomes

Felony trials are usually decided by juries – and juries are unpredictable — even more so because a felony jury is 12 people, not 6 like in misdemeanors.  You never know with these cases, which is why it’s essential that you go with an attorney who handles these cases regularly enough to know how to handle a jury during the trial, not someone who just pleads out every case. On that note, though, an experienced felony defense attorney will work with you to determine whether moving forward with a trial or accepting a favorable plea bargain is better for you in the long run.

Felony Cases Require Higher-Level Defense

It’s not uncommon for misdemeanor offenses to be pawned off on less experienced prosecutors who might be willing to make a quick deal to get rid of the case. Trials are expensive, after all, and less serious cases don’t always warrant the cost. 

In felony cases, on the other hand, you might be looking at the full weight of the government coming down on you. Prosecutors might be willing to spend more money on these cases, for example, to conduct more in-depth investigations or consult with confidential informants. In some instances, prosecutors will also initiate civil forfeiture actions against you to take your assets at the same time you’re going through a criminal case (and before conviction–what happened to innocent until proven guilty!?).  With everything on the line, it’s important to have a lawyer who can advance more sophisticated defenses and expose potential holes in the government’s case, as well as assist you in protecting what’s yours. Having worked as a prosecutor for many years, I know the inner workings of this system better than most.

Let Justie get Justice for You!

If you are being charged with a misdemeanor or felony, I can help. Particularly with felony cases, don’t trust just any Colorado criminal defense attorney. The experience and frequency handling these cases really matters, and you don’t want to jeopardize your life and your freedom on an inexperienced attorney who doesn’t know his or her way around a courtroom. 

Call me at (970) 670-0738 for a free 30-minute consultation or schedule that online here. If you are currently incarcerated, I can come to you! Your freedom is on the line in Colorado felony cases. Let Justie Get Justice for You! 



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