When the criminal justice system looks at the crime you have committed, they look at sentences that “fit the crime.” This is why people who have committed their first theft don’t tend to spend life in prison – because that would be unnecessary and unfair. However, you should always note that felonies are expected to carry harsher penalties than misdemeanors, because of how severe the crimes tend to be. The federal government and individual states look at the criminal histories of those who commit similar crimes and have created sentencing guidelines that are helpful in sentencing those with felonies.
The Class of the Felony: It Matters
Felony sentences carry a minimum sentence of a year in prison, in many cases. For federal felony crimes, the most severe, these are the sentences that you may witness:
- Class E: These are the least serious and can carry penalties of up to three years in prison.
- Class D through B: These are increasingly serious crimes that can bring you six to 25 years in prison.
- Class A: These are the most serious types of felonies and can land you in prison on life without parole or another long period of time. In some cases, they could even be worthy of the death penalty.
Deviating from Felony Guidelines
Guidelines are simply guidelines, which mean that they are able to change at any given time. Sometimes, the judge has other factors to look at that make your case different from another. This includes your behavior before, during, or after the crime. A judge, in turn, can choose to increase your sentence based on aggravating factors, such as the death of a person, serious physical injury to a victim, use of a weapon during the crime, or abduction.
If you have been charged with a felony crime, you may have questions for us. The judge could decide that the factors surrounding your case call for much more serious penalties than usual, which is why it pays to have us involved in your case. Call us today for more information on how we can help.