Kentucky Criminal Defense: Types Of Criminal Charges

In Kentucky and elsewhere, crimes are grouped into three specific categories: citations, misdemeanors and felonies. Citations are the least severe of the three, and felonies are the most serious, leaving misdemeanors in the middle. How does the state determine at which level a person will be charged? How can a criminal defense attorney help one who is facing criminal charges?

Every state has a list of crimes with information regarding how they are to be charged and their potential penalties. Before a person is charged, the state will have to look at the details of the alleged crime. When it comes to relatively minor crimes — such as certain traffic violations — Kentucky residents may just be looking at citations. With citations, one may not have to go to court, there is no jail time, and one generally just has to pay a fee. However, those who wish to go to court in order to fight citations may do so.

Misdemeanors are mid-level crimes that are more serious than citations. A person charged with a misdemeanor will have to go to court. If prosecuting attorneys achieve a conviction, penalties may include jail time or fines.

Finally, a felony charge is likely to follow any crime the state deems as serious or violent — such as possession with intent to distribute, arson, robbery, kidnapping and various others. Anyone convicted on a felony-level charge may face years of incarceration and have to pay significant fines. It is these penalties that really can be life-changing.

Kentucky residents who are facing criminal charges, regardless of which level, may have a lot of questions and concerns about how their lives will ultimately be affected if they are convicted. A criminal defense attorney can answer any questions one has and can be there every step of the way to help one through criminal court proceedings.

Source: FindLaw, “What Distinguishes a Misdemeanor From a Felony?” accessed Nov. 29, 2017