Do You Understand How Serious Your Misdemeanor Or Felony Charge Is?

May 24, 2023 | Criminal Defense

Ignorance isn’t bliss when it comes to the law. If you’ve been charged with a misdemeanor or felony, do you truly understand how grave the consequences can be? 

It is crucial that you’re aware of how serious both kinds of charges are so you can fight them effectively. Below we’ll dive into the harsh realities of the legal system and learn exactly how severely these charges can impact every aspect of your life. 

What Is A Misdemeanor & Felony? What Are The Penalties Of Each?

Misdemeanor: a lesser crime punishable by a fine and/or county jail time for up to one year. 

Misdemeanor penalties in Tennessee are categorized into three classes; class A, class B, and class c. Class A misdemeanors carry a maximum sentence of 11 months and 29 days’ jail time and a $2,500 fine. Class B misdemeanors carry a maximum sentence of six months’ jail time and a $500 fine, and Class C misdemeanors carry a maximum sentence of 30 days’ jail time and a $50 fine. The specific circumstances that surround your misdemeanor charge will stipulate which class it falls under. 

Felony: a crime sufficiently serious to be punishable by death or federal prison.

First degree murder is the only crime that bears the burden of death in Tennessee, also known as capital punishment. 

Aside from first degree murder, penalties are classified into 5 classes, similar to misdemeanors; Class A, Class B, Class C, Class D, and Class E. Class A felonies carry possible sentences of 15 to 60 years in prison and fines up to $50,000, Class B, 8 to 30 years in prison and fines up to $25,000, Class C, 3 to 15 years in prison and fines up to $10,000, Class D, 2 to 12 years in prison and fines up to $5,000, and Class E, 1 to 6 years in prison and fines up to $3,000.

Common misdemeanors include: 

  • Simple assault
  • Petty theft
  • DUI
  • Trespassing
  • And more. 

Common felonies include:

  • Aggravated assault
  • Armed robbery
  • Burglary
  • Homicide
  • Kidnapping
  • Sexual offense
  • And more!

What Are The Main Similarities & Differences Between The Two?

The biggest difference between a misdemeanor and a felony is the severity of the crime and its penalties. As mentioned above, those with misdemeanors are likely to receive much less harsh penalties than those charged with a felony. 

What’s similar about the two is that Tennessee law enables you to apply for your charges to be expunged from your record. A full list of eligible misdemeanor and felony expunctions can be found on Tennessee’s government site. 

Another similarity is both misdemeanors and felonies are handled in Tennessee’s circuit and criminal courts. 

Impacts Of Misdemeanors & Felonies

The impacts of both misdemeanors and felonies can be catastrophic, having lasting effects on each part of your life. 

Misdemeanors will result in fines, possible jail time, probation, or community service, and even the suspension of your driver’s license if you were charged with a driving-related offense like DUI. If your job requires you to have the ability to drive, or if you rely on your license to get you to and from work, you could lose your job. Without income, you might not be able to pay for your housing and other utilities, and where and how you live might be threatened. 

Felonies can have the same impacts on your life, except jail time is guaranteed, and long-term imprisonment is possible. In addition to the consequences already mentioned, you could also lose your right to bear arms, ability to vote, and other freedoms. On top of the possible loss of your job, a felony charge could also hinder future job prospects. 

Both kinds of charges can damage your reputation and also affect the dynamic of your  relationships with friends and family. If you have children, a misdemeanor or felony charge could result in the loss of custody or parental rights. All of these consequences widely depend on the circumstances of your charge, so the effects can look different in every individual life.

Long-Term Implications

Not only could you lose your driver’s license if you are convicted of a misdemeanor or felony in Tennesse, but you could also lose your professional license. A felony and some misdemeanors can make it impossible to obtain or maintain occupational licenses or certifications. Some examples would be law enforcement, healthcare, education, and more. It would be devastating to lose everything that you’ve worked so hard for in your career. 

The Importance of Legal Representation

Navigating misdemeanor and felony charges alone can feel frightening and impossible. That is why it’s best done with an attorney on your side. They could be what makes the between freedom and imprisonment. A criminal defense lawyer can listen to your story, gather supporting evidence for your defense, and develop a strategy that gives you much higher odds at obtaining a favorable outcome, like reduced or completely dismissed charges. 

You Can Still Turn Your Life Around

When you’re facing serious charges, a fresh start might feel completely out of reach. However, your mistake doesn’t have to cost you your entire future, or prohibit you from the life that you want to live. When you work with a skilled criminal defense attorney, you can combat your charges, and fight for the chance to do better going forward. 

If an addiction led to your arrest, rehabilitation is possible. In fact, most attorneys will be able to refer you to a recovery center or specialist who can help you get your life back on track. 

How The Law Office of Chris Thompson Can Help You

If you’ve been charged with a misdemeanor or felony, it is crucial that you understand the legal ramifications attached to your charge. The time you have to respond to these charges is limited, so it’s imperative that you act fast. At The Law Office of Chris Thompson, we have nearly 9 years of experience navigating Tennessee’s criminal laws, so we are familiar with how the system works and are prepared to guide you through it. Don’t lose all hope; get the legal representation you need and deserve. Call now for a free consultation. 

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