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What Are Considered Criminal Charges?

What Are Considered Criminal Charges?
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Criminal charges are a consequence of a behavior that is forbidden by law. This encompasses any act that is considered to violate the moral standards held by society. These acts are divided into various categories, such as:

Personal Crimes

These include those actions that cause mental or physical harm to another individual and can range from any form of homicide to kidnapping, domestic violence, sexual abuse, rape, or assault and battery, among others.

Property Crimes

These involve someone else’s property and include robbery, larceny, burglary, theft, and shoplifting, among others.

Statutory Crimes

These include but are not limited to:

Alcohol-Related Crimes

These crimes include driving under the influence, possession of alcohol by a minor, being publicly intoxicated, and others.

Drug-Related Crimes

These include possessing and consuming illegal substances and creating them, selling them, or distributing them.

Traffic Offenses

These come about due to people using public roadways and can be connected to other crimes such as DUI, reckless driving, or other traffic violations that cause someone to lose their life. In these cases, charges are more serious such as homicide or manslaughter.

Financial Crimes

In these crimes, one individual deceives another with the intent of obtaining financial gain. Financial or white-collar crimes may be money laundering, tax evasion, embezzlement, cybercrimes, and more.

Categories of Criminal Offenses

According to their severity, there are three types of criminal offenses:

Infractions

Usually, these crimes do not involve jail time. When people violate local ordinances and laws such as improper trash disposal, speed limit violations, not having a license when operating a business, and others. They are generally punishable by fines.

Misdemeanors

These crimes are usually punished by a jail sentence of one year or less. They are also less severe than felonies.

Felonies

These are the most serious of crimes and are punishable with more than a year in prison. They may also result in life in prison or capital punishment. The law has established minimum and maximum sentencing guidelines for each class of felony crimes.

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Image by Yildiray Yücel Kamanmaz from Pixabay

What is the process for a felony?

It starts when there is a warrant issued, or an arrest takes place. Within 48 hours after that, you will have a hearing before a judge in which bail will be set.

You will then have a preliminary hearing in a District Court or surrender the Grand Jury case. You will be arraigned if the Grand Jury returns an indictment against you. At that time, you will be able to plead guilty or not guilty. Your attorney and the state exchange copies of whatever evidence they have, and a date is set for your trial.

What rights does the Constitution offer people charged with crimes?

There are numerous procedural rights protected by the Constitution for criminal charges, including:

  • Having your Miranda rights read to you
  • A right to a speedy trial
  • The right to be free from unlawful searches
  • The right to confront your accusers
  • The right to file an appeal with a higher court

You Need to Talk to a Criminal Defense Attorney

If you face criminal charges, a criminal defense attorney will explain your legal rights and help you navigate the criminal justice system. Cobb Law Firm recommends that you obtain legal representation as soon as possible. Otherwise, you may be facing devastating consequences.

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Featured Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay