A felony is a serious charge that needs to be dealt with immediately.  Being found guilty of a felony will change your life permanently and will often result in extensive jail time.  If you have been charged with a felony, it is important to contact the experienced criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Bergman & Yiangou in Columbus, OH.  During your free consultation, our attorneys will assess your case to determine the best possible outcome.  We will aggressively fight for your rights so that you receive the best possible results.

columbus_felony_crime_scene_tapeWhat is a felony?

A felony is the most serious criminal charge a person can receive.  A felony is a crime more serious than a misdemeanor.  Felony convictions can result in the most severe punishments under Ohio law, including fines, imprisonment, and probation.

What are the punishments for felonies?

Felonies are often punished by assessing monetary fines, probation, and imprisonment.  The punishments for felonies are more extreme than punishments for misdemeanor crimes.  Felonies will appear on any criminal background check, which can prevent you from obtaining professional licenses.  Additionally, having prior felonies on your record can escalate the punishment for future felonies which may be committed.  Furthermore, a felony conviction can prevent you from purchasing firearms, serving on a jury, receiving government assistance, and voting.

What types of crimes are considered felonies?

Felonies are considered the most heinous of crimes.  Types of felony crimes include drug abuse, driving while intoxicated, larceny or theft, assault, burglary, robbery, vandalism, and murder.

What is the process for being charged with a felony?

Most felony charges begin in the municipal court system; however, some can start in common pleas or at the federal district court level.  Once the prosecutor files paperwork accusing an individual of a felony, there will be an arraignment hearing which will outline the criminal charges, potential penalties, and your constitutional rights.  After the arraignment, the courts will then proceed by holding numerous trials that introduce testimony, witnesses, and exhibits.  Finally, a judge or jury will assess the evidence introduced during the trial and determine if the defendant is guilty or not guilty.  If the defendant is found guilty, the judge will issue a punishment.

What are the felony classifications or the different degrees of felonies?

The maximum penalty for a felony conviction is provided by the Ohio Revised Code.  These penalties are determined by the crime committed.  Ohio law classifies felonies into five degrees, with the fifth degree being the least serious and the first being the most serious.  A fifth degree felony can result in a prison term between six and twelve months and a maximum fine of $2,500.  A fourth degree felony can result in a prison term between six and eighteen months and a maximum fine of $5,000.  Third degree felonies can result in prison terms between one and five years and maximum fines of $10,000.  Second degree felonies can result in prison terms between two and eight years and maximum fines of $15,000.  Lastly, first degree felonies, the most serious of felonies, can result in prison terms between three and ten years and maximum fines of $20,000. A felony murder conviction can, however, result in greater fines and imprisonment that often results in a lifetime in prison.  In addition, repeat felony offenders are usually subject to increasingly larger fines and longer imprisonment.

How long do felonies remain on my permanent record?

Most job applications require you to answer the question of “have you ever been convicted of a felony?”  If your answer to this question is yes, the penalty for a felony conviction can extend beyond any jail time, probation, or fine and can preclude you from being hired.  Felonies will typically remain on your permanent record for the remainder of your life.  There are very few felonies that can later be expunged (the process by which the court allows any prior criminal convictions on your record released and sealed).

Felony charges are the most serious accusations and can result in the most severe punishments.  It is essential that you are represented by an experienced Ohio criminal defense lawyer.  Our dedicated local attorneys know the ins and outs of the court system, will advocate for your rights, and will offer the best representation for you.

Contact the highly qualified criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Bergman & Yiangou today for your free initial consultation.