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Written by AskTheLawyers.com™
A criminal conviction can drastically affect the rest of your life. You may face the possibility of jail time, fines and other penalties, and your reputation may be damaged. Additionally, a conviction may prevent you from finding work and/or housing in the future. Since so much hangs in the balance, you should always work a criminal defense lawyer with a history of success. Even innocence is not always an ironclad defense – law enforcement and prosecutors may not care about your side of the story, but will simply focus on getting a conviction. An attorney can work to enforce your rights and expose any misconduct or negligence that may have led to your arrest. In many cases, a good lawyer can get your charges or penalties reduced, minimizing the negative impact on your life.
If you have been arrested or someone you know was taken into police custody, then you should find a lawyer as quickly as possible. No matter what kinds of charges you face, from a misdemeanor to a felony, finding an attorney you trust is essential. To speak with a local Louisiana criminal lawyer today, consult our local listings.
The type of criminal charge you face may vary depending on the nature of the alleged crime. Although each state has its own specific classifications, the general types of charges are:
In some cases, a criminal defense lawyer can negotiate on your behalf with the prosecution to reduce the severity of the charges you face. If the court reduces your charge from a low-level felony to a misdemeanor, for example, then the repercussions you face may be much less serious.
Each state has its own system for classifying misdemeanor and felony charges, and penalties may vary as well. In Louisiana, misdemeanors are determined on a case-by-case basis, relative to the severity of felonies, which are defined as "a crime punishable by death or imprisonment in the state prison is a felony.” Thus, all other crimes are misdemeanors: offenses that cannot be punished by a state prison sentence.
In Louisiana, most misdemeanors do not involve serious bodily injury, or major property damage. Sentencing often depends on the amount of damage done or value of theft. For example, larceny of $250 or less is a misdemeanor, while larceny over $250 could be charged as a felony. Some of the most common examples of misdemeanor violations include:
Most of the time, misdemeanor convictions will result in a fine and probation instead of serving time in jail. However, should a misdemeanor conviction result in jail time, the maximum penalties for a misdemeanor is Louisiana in two and a half (2 ½) years in a House of Corrections.
Like misdemeanors, each state has its own system for what qualifies as a felony and what penalties may result from a conviction. In Louisiana, in the same vein of its broad misdemeanor categorization, felonies are defined as a crime that can be punished by a state prison sentence up to and including life in prison. If the law that a person is charged with breaking includes a possible state prison sentence, it is considered a felony in Louisiana.
Felony crimes can range from charges of relative less-seriousness, like a third OUI offense, to much more consequential crimes such as:
A felony conviction can result in a substantial state prison sentence, and the potential loss of certain privileges and Constitutional rights such as U.S. citizenship.
If you are facing any level of criminal charge, then a qualified lawyer may be essential to protecting your future. Additionally, if someone you know is currently in police custody, then you may wish to reach out to a lawyer on his or her behalf. To find a Louisiana criminal defense lawyer in your area, then consult our attorney listings. If you have general question about criminal law or certain charges, then do not hesitate to ask the lawyers.