What Am I Up Against if I Am Facing Felony Criminal Charges?
If you’ve been charged with a felony, you could face severe consequences upon conviction. You could potentially have to serve time behind bars and pay large fines, and if this is your second or third felony offense, the outlook is much worse.
You may be hopeless after getting charged with a felony. It’s scary to think about having to go to jail or prison and shelling out tons of money to cover the fines. What are you going to do? Who can you turn to right now?
Thankfully, there is hope if you get in touch with a San Jose felony defense lawyer like Elliot Silver at Silver Law Firm. With Silver Law Firm’s help, you can fight these charges and have a much better chance of getting them reduced or dropped. This could change the outcome of your case and guarantee that you’ll have a better future ahead.
First, here is some information on felonies in California and what you need to do if you’re dealing with felony charges at this time.
What Is a Felony?
In the state of California, a felony is classified as a crime that carries a maximum sentence of more than one year in either jail or prison. You could also owe thousands of dollars in fines and face other consequences like probation and having to register as a sex offender if you committed a felony sex crime. It is much more serious than a misdemeanor. The most severe type of felony is a capital crime felony, like first degree murder, where the punishment is life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.
California felonies will have low, mid, and high-term sentences for each crime. For example, you could go to prison for a felony crime for at least three years, or serve a mid term of five years or a high term of seven years behind bars. If there is no prison term set for your crime, then your sentence could be 16 months or two or three years in state prison and a fine of up to $10,000 unless the law states something different.
California has a 3-Strikes law, which means that if you were charged with a felony robbery, kidnapping, or assault with a firearm, you will get a strike. If you get a second felony conviction, your sentence could be doubled and you may get a second strike. If you get a third strike, then you could go to prison for 25 years to life.
Keep in mind that you could potentially be charged with a state and/or federal crime depending on the felony crime you allegedly committed. Federal felonies are made up of five categories, Class A, B, C, D, and E, with a Class A federal felony being the worst offense. If you’re convicted of a Class A federal felony, you could have to go to prison for life and pay a maximum fine of $250,000.
Some crimes in California are classified as “wobblers,” where they are either misdemeanors or felonies, depending on the circumstances surrounding the case. Wobbler crimes include discharging a firearm at an unoccupied vehicle, assault with a deadly weapon (not a firearm), and statutory rape.
No matter what kind of charges you’re contending with, you can hire a San Jose and Santa Clara County felony defense attorney to assist you with your case. They can explain your charges and fight on your behalf inside and outside of the courtroom.
Felony Crimes in California
Felony crimes in California include the following:
- Assault with a deadly weapon
- White collar crimes
- Sexual battery
- Sale of controlled substances
- Manufacture of controlled substances
- Grand theft
- Identity theft
- Some computer crimes
- Hate crimes
- Child pornography
- Oral copulation by force
- First degree burglary
The amount of years you could potentially spend in jail or prison for one of these crimes is going to vary. For example, if you are convicted of rape, you could go to prison for up to eight years, or up to 13 years if the victim is a minor. You would also have to be registered as a sex offender for the rest of your life.
For kidnapping, you could go to prison for up to eight years and pay up to $10,000 in fines. To convict you of kidnapping, a prosecutor will have to prove that you held or took someone by way of force or fear, you moved them or made the person move a substantial distance without their consent and you believe they did not consent.
Robbery could be a first or second degree felony. If you are convicted of a second degree robbery, you may go to prison for up to five years. If you are convicted of first degree robbery, you may go to prison for up to nine years. In both cases, you may have to pay up to $10,000 in fines. To convict you of robbery of any kind, the prosecutor will need to prove that you took someone else’s property that was in their possession, it was taken from that individual’s immediate presence, you took it against their will, you used fear or force to take it, and you wanted to permanently deny them use of the property.
Embezzlement is an example of a wobbler crime. It’s a white collar crime that involves taking someone’s property that was entrusted to you and is also known as employee theft. If you allegedly embezzled $950 or less, then you could be charged with a misdemeanor crime and go to jail for up to six months as well as pay court fines. If the amount stolen was over $950, then it becomes a wobbler, and it could be charged as a misdemeanor or felony. You could go to prison for up to three years. If the amount was over $65,000, then another year could be added to the prison sentence, and if it was over $3,200,000, then another four years could be added to your sentence.
Whichever kind of felony charges you’re facing, your San Jose felony defense lawyer will come up with a defense strategy for you.
Defenses for Felony Crimes in California
When you meet with your Santa Clara County felony defense lawyer, you will discuss whether or not you have proof that demonstrates your side of the story. For example, let’s say a friend said you could borrow their car for a night out on the town. All of a sudden, while you’re driving, the cop pulls you over, and you get charged with carjacking. It turns out that your friend was setting you up, and they called the police on you to report you. If you have evidence like text messages that show your friend gave you permission to use their vehicle or witness statements from friends who saw what happened, then this could be a viable defense to your charges.
In another example, let’s say you were charged with rape. These charges came about because your ex called the cops and said you raped them. However, you have threatening emails from them, as well as video footage of them saying they were going to hurt you. You could show these to your San Jose criminal defense lawyer, who would argue that your ex is lying about the rape.
Other evidence that could be factored into your case includes photographs and police records. If you need assistance gathering any additional evidence to support your case, your Santa Clara County felony defense lawyer will be happy to help you.
Along with showing you were set up, you could also bring forth evidence that demonstrates you were nowhere near the scene of the crime when the alleged crime occurred. If you’re facing sex crime felony charges, then you could argue that you had consent from the other person, as long as they’re an adult.
For embezzlement or a similar crime, perhaps you misunderstood how you were supposed to use the funds you were given and you didn’t intend to steal or misappropriate them. Another possibility is that you lacked the intent to commit a crime. For instance, you may have been convicted of assault with a deadly weapon for throwing a hammer at someone. But, it wasn’t your intent to hurt them; you were simply trying to get them to go away because you were afraid of them. Your San Jose felony defense attorney could argue that since there was no intent, you should not be charged.
Another defense you may not have thought of is misconduct on behalf of the police. They may have illegally searched you to find evidence of your alleged crime or they might not have read you your Miranda rights, which say that you have the right to remain silent. Your Santa Clara County felony defense lawyer will be able to let you know if any police wrongdoing occurred.
What to Do If You’re Arrested for a Felony Crime
If you are arrested for a felony crime, make sure you are polite to the police officers, but don’t say anything regarding what happened. Instead, request to call a family member who will call a San Jose felony defense lawyer for you, or you can call one yourself. When you talk to your lawyer, don’t mention any details about what happened, other than the fact that you were arrested for a crime. You never know who is listening in on your call, so it’s best to wait until you can meet the lawyer after you get out of jail to tell them any details about your case. It’s important to let them know about everything that happened during your arrest so they can determine if the police did anything wrong.
You may be wondering if you should use the court-appointed lawyer the state has offered you. While this may seem like a great idea, it can hurt you in the long run.
Consider this: If you are convicted, it will have a long lasting impact on your life. Along with having to serve time in jail or prison, pay fines, and go on probation, you will have to let your future employers and landlords know about your conviction. You may not be able to secure a good job or home. Also, you would not be able to ask for federal grants or loans to pay for college, and, if you are convicted of a sex crime, you’d have to register as a sex offender for the rest of your life.
Court appointed lawyers are overwhelmed and won’t be able to commit their all to your case. You could end up getting convicted because you didn’t have the proper representation who had the time to dedicate to your case. A San Jose felony defense attorney may not be free, but they could save you a lot of time, money, energy, and heartache. With the right representation on your side, you could beat these charges or, at the very least, have them reduced.
Why Work With Silver Law Firm?
For years, Elliot Silver at Silver Law Firm has successfully represented clients with felony charges. One client was facing felony charges for evading the cops in a high-speed chase. Elliot Silver was able to get the charges refused to a misdemeanor after the client agreed to undergo 90 days of in-patient alcohol treatment. In another case, a client was facing a third strike for getting into a fight at a football game, and may have gone away to prison for the rest of his life. Elliot Silver made sure that his client only went to jail for four months instead.
If you need representation for your felony charges, then get in touch with Santa Clara County and San Jose felony defense attorney Elliot Silver today at (510) 995-0000 or by emailing him at [email protected]. You can also fill out a form on the Silver Law Firm website. We look forward to hearing from you and assisting you with your case.