The Differences between Felony and Misdemeanor Drug Charges

Drug charges are often severe even if the ones issued are misdemeanor, however, knowing the difference could assist the person arrested in knowing how to prepare. The most severe of all drug charges issued are felony, and these could lead to the person’s conviction and sentence to prison for several years or decades.

Most states have both misdemeanor and felony drug charges. This usually holds true for every crime, but there are exceptions. When the criminal act involves drugs, there are several types of charges that may be issued. Knowing which is which may prevent confusion and increase awareness for the accused with possible penalties if he or she is facing conviction. This may also increase the knowledge and understanding of what types of plea bargains may be negotiated on the client’s behalf. It is imperative that a lawyer assist with drug cases in the courtroom, so the client may have an increased chance of possible success.

While both misdemeanors and felonies with drugs offer the most severe of penalties in most instances, the misdemeanors are the lesser of the two. These crimes may include theft, minor drug offenses and sometimes possession if the amounts are small such as only a few ounces. Some locations in the United States have different classes of misdemeanors that apply based on the actions, factors and drugs involved. These crimes may have accompanying penalties in fines, jail time and only a year or so of prison terms. However, if the individual is charged with an additional misdemeanor, these punishments often increase significantly.

Misdemeanors Explained

While misdemeanors are usually charged with lesser sentences when conviction occurs, it is important to know what the degrees mean based on state differences. First degree is the harshest with the most serious of crimes committed that are still classified as misdemeanors. These have the worst possible fines attached and could exceed several thousand if it involves a person. The second is less severe but still incurs fines and possibly up to one year in jail or prison based on the factors of the case. Third degree offers the least sentencing, but if multiple third or second degree are committed, the drug offender may face more time in jail or prison with heftier fines. Some first degree multi-offenders may face increased sentencing to felony level.

If the state deems the misdemeanor as less harsh and the conviction involves jail instead of prison, the person may serve the term in a local or county jailhouse. This could be beneficial or worse depending on the state and local city the person resides in. These trials with misdemeanors are often just as long and complicated as any other trial, but they may have expedited procedures in place. This usually depends on if the person is facing only a judge or the matter proceeds to a trial. The more involved in this method, the longer it takes for resolution.

Felonies Explained

Felony drug charges are often the worst of the worst, and they could land someone in prison either state or federal for years or decades depending on the specific circumstances and factors of the case and arrest. Some prosecutors are willing to negotiate a deal if there is a distributor that may have a drug trafficking operation. However, felonies work similarly to misdemeanors with degrees through standard situations based on the state. First degree is generally reserved for aggravated circumstances, additional charges and when someone is killed along with the drugs. These are accompanied by extensive fines and often no less than one year in prison. If the factors are severe enough, some states issue the death penalty.

Felony convictions lead to state or federal prison systems used for the crimes. When second and third degrees are committed, this could be only a few or one year behind bars. However, fines are still frequently extensive. When necessary, those convicted may stay in one prison and then transfer to another and this could take the individual far away from home. Amenities are limited and when in a maximum security prison, the convict has few freedoms. After the trial, the consequences are usually extreme.

The Criminal Defense Lawyer for Misdemeanors and Felonies

When someone has been arrested for drug charges, the lawyer hired usually starts by determining the severity of the charges and working from there. After enough evidence is gathered and the defense lawyer has conversed with the prosecution, a strategy may be employed to protect the rights of the individual.

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Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication at the time it was written. It is not intended to provide legal advice or suggest a guaranteed outcome as individual situations will differ and the law may have changed since publication. Readers considering legal action should consult with an experienced lawyer to understand current laws they may affect a case.

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