Whether you’re guilty or not, facing a felony charge is not something to take lightly. These charges can impact every facet of your life, from employment opportunities to strained relationships with friends and family. It’s necessary to understand the implications of an offense and the factors that can influence the outcome. Keep reading to learn more about the factors that can determine the severity of a felony charge and how a Maryland criminal defense lawyer can help you navigate these charges.
What Constitutes a Felony Charge?
In Maryland, there are two classifications for crimes committed in the state. This includes misdemeanors and felonies. Felonies in the state are generally ruled as first, second, or third-degree crimes, with first–degree felonies considered the most severe.
It is critical to note that in Maryland, some misdemeanors can carry longer sentences than third-degree felonies. For example, a second-degree assault charge is commonly considered a misdemeanor carrying up to ten years in prison, while a third-degree felony like drug charges can carry up to five years in jail.
What Are Aggravating Factors?
It’s essential to note that the severity of your charge will be influenced by aggravating factors. These are generally the circumstances surrounding the alleged offense that the courts will consider when charging someone with a crime. Typical factors that can influence a charge include, but are not limited to, the following:
- What weapons, if any, were used to commit the crime;
- If there was a child present;
- Whether or not the crime was motivated by race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or religion;
- If the defendant has a prior criminal history
While these are not the only factors the courts will consider, it is vital to understand that these can impact the penalties and consequences a defendant may face if convicted.
What Should I Do if I am Facing Felony Charges?
When you’re facing felony charges, it is imperative that you contact an attorney as soon as possible. Unfortunately, many may not understand that the police will do everything possible to mislead and coerce a confession. This can have severe and intense ramifications.
Never speak to the police without an attorney present, as you may accidentally implicate yourself.
If facing criminal charges, you should not wait to contact an attorney for representation. Contact the Law Offices of Debra A. Saltz today to learn how our Maryland firm can help you navigate a felony charge.