Springfield Felony Lawyers
Facing criminal charges can be a scary time. The possibility of jail time is real, as is the loss of one’s reputation in their community. The accused might be prejudged and abandoned by their neighbors, friends and in some sad cases, even their family. That’s when it’s time to turn to a Springfield, MO felony lawyer. The attorney’s job is to stand with their client and believe in them even when no one else will and to fight zealously on their behalf.
Types of Felonies in Missouri
The state of Missouri puts felony charges into five overall categories, from Class A on the high end down to Class E on the low end. There are an extremely large number of possible crimes in each category, but here are some examples, along with the sentencing guidelines judges are obligated to follow in the event of a conviction…
- Class A Felony: With charges like murder, and 1st-degree assault, child molestation and kidnapping included in this group, it’s not surprising that conviction means a minimum of 10 years in prison, with the possibility of life behind bars.
- Class B Felony: Distributing illegal substances to a minor can get defendants hit with a Class B felony charge. So can 1st-degree arson, along with lower degrees of some of the crimes (assault, molestation, etc.) that can otherwise go in the Class A category. Conviction on a Class B felony count means at least 5 years in jail and up to 15 years .
- Class C Felony: The prison sentence will range from 3 to 10 years and this category includes a number of crimes related to theft .That includes identity theft, the stealing of livestock or any other theft where the value of the property exceeds $25,000.
- Class D Felony: At the Class D level, there is the possibility a defendant’s prison term could be for less than a year in county jail. On the flip side, it could still mean seven years behind bars. Class D offenses include fraud related to voter registration, the forgery of a medical license or affidavit and performing unauthorized surgery.
- Class E Felony: The max sentence here is four years. Vandalizing a grave site can result in a Class E felony charge, as can forging medical documents and committing political bribery.
How a Springfield, MO Felony Lawyer Can Help
Of course, the primary way a defendant’s attorney can help is by pursuing acquittal. Prosecutors have the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt and an aggressive, savvy defense attorney will doggedly challenge the prosecution’s evidence every step of the way.
Sometimes there are cases where the prosecution’s evidence might be compelling to a jury. The defense lawyer still has a crucial role to play–one that can have a big impact on how the rest of the defendant’s life moving forward looks like. That role starts with the large amount of discretion that exists for both prosecutors and judges.
Discretion can begin with the precise charges that will be brought by the prosecutor. The range of possible sentences noted above is significant and that doesn’t tap into the significant difference there is in a crime’s degree. Dropping a charge from the 1st-degree to 3rd-degree can mean years on a defendant’s life.
Judges have similar discretion. Take the Class A felony sentencing guidelines–anywhere from 10 years in jail to a lifetime behind bars. Sentencing is done at a separate hearing and a Springfield, MO defense attorney can work to get the possible arrangement for their client.
Whether it’s acquittal, reduced charges or favorable sentencing, the quality of the lawyer a defendant hires can be vitally important to how the rest of that defendant’s life plays out. At Taylor & Phillips we know the stakes are high and we fight for our clients.
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