Those individuals charged with a felony are facing, potentially, the highest consequences imaginable. A felony is any criminal offense that once convicted, the defendant is sentenced to serve a year or more in state or federal prison. Other penalties, in addition to prison time, can be mandated by the judge as well, most commonly including fines, probation, and/or community service. Felony crimes are any crimes with a maximum sentence that is one or more years.
Once convicted of a felony you face additional consequences including:
Employment: work can be difficult to find and you can be barred from certain areas of employment.
Voting: lose your right to vote.
Licences: prohibition from obtaining certain licenses.
Firearms: felons can no longer purchase or possess any firearms.
Deportation: if you’re not a U.S. citizen and are convicted of a felony you can be deported.
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, there is a negative social stigma associated with being convicted of a felony. That stigma can follow you and will continue to affect your life long after your sentence has been served.
Facing a misdemeanor, while a lesser charge, is still a serious matter as it can include jail time. Misdemeanors still have penalties that can include imprisonment, however, the length of the imprisonment must be less than one year. Additionally, a defendant convicted of a misdemeanor would be sentenced to county or local jail as opposed to prison. Similar to felonies, misdemeanors also include additional penalties most commonly including: fines, probation, and/or community service.
Below are a couple of resources that can be helpful to those who face criminal charges or who are just struggling:
Horizon Healthcare is a healthcare provider that offers a wide variety of services: anger management, AODA treatment, therapy, depression, and mental health treatment just to name a few.
Habitat for Humanity is a volunteer opportunity that is well respected and familiar with court mandated community service. Volunteering can be helpful even prior to formal charges or negotiations, it demonstrates a desire to make amends for past indiscretions.