State Felony Trials
UPDATED: October 10, 2012
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A felony is a crime that fits under the umbrella of “high-level” criminal offenses. Felony crimes are more serious than misdemeanors and consist of serious crimes such as murder, espionage, treason, rape, racketeering, fraud, battery or aggravated assault, and some cases of drug possession, among others. A felony conviction can result in severe punishments, including prison time, exclusion from certain professions, difficulty getting a job, loss of voting rights, and even execution in states that allow capital punishment.
Many state laws cover felony crimes, though some felonies may be covered under federal laws meant to protect the country at large. A crime that is, by law, determined to be a state felony is tried in a state court. The burden of proof lies upon the prosecution, who must bring evidence to convince the jury beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused did commit the crime. Witnesses may be brought and documents subpoenaed. If there is a felony conviction, another hearing will usually be convened in order to decide an appropriate sentence for the felon. Sentencing hearings often allow the convicted felon to speak to the judge and character witnesses to be brought forward in an attempt to lighten the felon’s sentence.
Each felony case is different, and different convictions can lead to differing punishments. However, felonies are considered in a more severe light than petty crimes and a felony conviction can haunt a convicted felon for life, making proper legal representation by a felony lawyer a must for those accused of such crimes.