Criminal Defense for Minor Felony Offenses

In Louisiana, crimes are split into two categories: misdemeanors and felonies. Felonies are more serious crimes and carry more severe penalties than misdemeanors. Louisiana law defines a felony as any criminal offense that is punishable by death or imprisonment “at hard labor.” “At hard labor” means incarceration in state prison.

Criminal Defense for Minor Felony Offenses 

Unlike most states, Louisiana does not sort felonies into different categories or classes. Each conviction is punished according to the specific guideline for each crime. However, certain felony offenses are less serious than others. In general, minor felony offenses are non-violent and non-sexual related crimes. Some examples of minor felony offenses in Louisiana include:

  • Lowest level felony drug possession (i.e., possession of 28 grams of cocaine);
  • Theft of property valued between $1,000 and $5,000; and
  • Simple robbery without a dangerous weapon.

More severe felonies include crimes such as murder, rape, and aggravated assault.

Habitual Felony Offender in Metairie

A second or subsequent felony offense (of any kind) carries enhanced penalties in Louisiana. Even if the felony offense is relatively minor, there will be stiff penalties if you are a habitual offender. The sentence you receive will depend on the number of prior felonies you were convicted of within the past five years and the type of offense (such as a violent felony or sex offense).

Some crimes are misdemeanors for the first offense but become felonies when the defendant is convicted subsequent times for the same crime. Examples of these types of crimes include:

  • Violating a domestic violence protective order,
  • A third offense for theft of property valued less than $1,000; and
  • A third DWI/DUI offense.

Penalties for Minor Felonies in Metairie

In Metairie, a felony is punished according to the specific sentencing guidelines of each crime. The judge will consider the guidelines and the unique facts of your case when deciding your sentence. During your sentencing hearing, your attorney can present mitigating evidence to argue for a lower sentence. Examples of mitigating circumstances include a greater degree of provocation than normally expected or mental illness.

The potential penalties for felony offenses in Louisiana are:

  • Incarceration ranging from one year to live in prison (with or without the possibility of parole),
  • Death penalty,
  • Probation,
  • Fines over $1,000,
  • Restitution, and
  • Community service.

In addition, a felony conviction has long-lasting collateral consequences. It can affect your:

  • Right to vote,
  • Ability to possess a firearm,
  • Employment opportunities,
  • Educational opportunities,
  • Professional licenses,
  • Housing opportunities,
  • Parental and visitation rights, and
  • Respect in the community.

Every felony charge must be taken extremely seriously, even if it is for a minor felony offense.

Defense for Minor Felony Offenses in Metairie

If you have been charged with a felony, it is crucial to hire a qualified Metairie criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. A skilled attorney will help you navigate the criminal justice system and defend your rights. They will investigate your case and develop the strongest possible defense unique to the specific facts of your case. With a qualified criminal defense attorney on your side, you will obtain the best possible outcome.

Under some circumstances, your attorney may be able to get your felony case dismissed or reduced to a misdemeanor. Not only do misdemeanor charges carry lower fines and shorter prison sentences, but they are also much easier to expunge from your record. After a conviction is expunged, it is no longer visible on most background checks. Most employers and institutions will no longer see the conviction on your record.

Should You Talk to the Police When You are Arrested on Felony Charges in Metairie?

You should never talk to the police without your attorney present if you have been arrested for a felony offense in Metairie. It is natural to want to explain your innocence and answer the arresting officers’ questions. You must resist this urge. Most of the time, speaking to the police will put you in a worse situation. Everything you say can be used against you. Even if you don’t believe that you are incriminating yourself, the state can twist your words in unexpected ways. Instead, you should remain calm and calmly request to speak to your lawyer.

Your Metairie Criminal Defense Attorney

If you or a loved one were arrested on felony charges, you should reach out to a local Metairie attorney. The Fisher Law Firm is a full-service law firm dedicated to providing the best legal services to Louisiana residents. Call us today at 504-304-4944 to schedule an appointment at our Metairie, Louisiana office.

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