London Felony Defense Attorney
Felonies are the most serious kinds of crimes. If convicted, you could be fined up to $10,000 and forced to spend years or decades in the state penitentiary. On top of any criminal penalties, convicted felons in Kentucky face numerous hurdles in life because of their conviction. They can have their voting rights taken away permanently, be prevented from owning or possessing a firearm, and be kept out of working in dozen of professions that require a license issued by a state board. Felons find it difficult to get or keep a job, rent an apartment or get a loan. It might even hurt you in a divorce or child custody dispute, depending on the offense and surrounding circumstances.
Help is available if you’ve been charged with a felony. You have the right to be advised and represented by an attorney who can fight the charges, get them reduced or dismissed, negotiate a favorable outcome, or defend you in court for a not guilty verdict or judgment of acquittal. At the Cessna & George Law Firm, our dedicated London felony defense attorneys help people throughout Southeast Kentucky who have been charged with a felony. Call us right away for immediate assistance and to put yourself in the best position for a positive result.
What Is a Felony?
A felony is defined in Kentucky law as an offense that is punishable by death or confinement in the penitentiary, whether or not a fine or other penalty may also be assessed. In contrast, an offense that is punishable by confinement other than in the penitentiary (such as a county jail) is a misdemeanor, and an offense that is not punishable by confinement at all is classified as a “violation.”
Like all other offenses in Kentucky, punishment for a felony conviction involves the imposition of a fine, whether or not any sentence of incarceration is imposed. For a felony, the fine imposed ranges from $1,000 at a minimum all the way up to $10,000 or double the gain from the crime, whichever is larger. In deciding how much of a fine to impose, the court will consider the offender’s ability to pay, the hardship it would impose on the individual’s dependents, the impact of a fine on the offender’s ability to make restitution to the victim, and the amount of financial gain from the crime the person was convicted of. Your attorney can argue these points in your favor if you are facing a large fine.
Felonies in Kentucky are further divided into classes. The felony classes in Kentucky and the length of possible prison terms in each class are as follows:
- Class D felony – one to five years
- Class C felony – five to ten years
- Class B felony – ten to 20 years
- Class A felony – 20 to 50 years or life
- Capital felony – life without parole, life imprisonment, or 50 years in prison
Many felony offenses can be charged in different degrees depending on the circumstances, and felonies of different degrees are often in different classes. For instance, consider the following felony offenses:
- Assault in the first degree is a Class B felony. Assault in the second degree is a Class C felony. Assault in the third degree is a Class D felony or Class A misdemeanor.
- Burglary in the first degree is a Class B felony. Burglary in the second degree is a Class C felony. Burglary in the third degree is a Class D felony.
- Conspiracy is a Class B or Class A Felony or a Class A or Class B misdemeanor on the object of the agreement.
- Manslaughter in the first degree is a Class B felony. Manslaughter in the second degree is a Class C felony.
- Rape in the first degree is a Class B felony. If the victim was under 12 years old or was seriously injured, it is a Class A felony. Rape in the second degree is a Class C felony. Rape in the third degree is a Class D felony.
- Forcible Sodomy ranges from a Class A felony to a Class A misdemeanor, depending on the circumstances.
- Theft can be charged as a felony or misdemeanor depending on the value of the property.
- Sexual Abuse can be charged as a felony or misdemeanor.
- Robbery in the first degree is a Class B felony. Robbery in the second degree is a Class C felony.
- Forgery in the first degree is a Class C felony. Forgery in the second degree is a Class D felony.
- Human Trafficking is either a Class B or Class C felony.
Each offense is defined in the Kentucky statutes, and the prosecutors have to prove every element of the crime as defined in law beyond a reasonable doubt. Often prosecutors will charge the highest level of offense, but a savvy criminal defense attorney might be able to get the charges reduced before trial, plead to a lesser charge to obtain a favorable result such as probation instead of incarceration, get a felony knocked down to a misdemeanor, or defend against the charges in court by raising reasonable doubt whether the prosecution has proven its case on the offense charged.
Probation, Home Incarceration, and the Statute of Limitations
Probation is often an excellent result when one is facing serious felony charges and the possibility of confinement in the penitentiary. Your attorney will counsel you on your options, the risks and benefits of going to trial, and whether it is in your best interests to enter a guilty plea in exchange for probation. Probation is generally not available for violent offenders. Similarly, home incarceration (house arrest) is an option in many instances but not for a violent felony offense. While your attorney will give you good advice, the decision whether to take a plea deal or go to trial is ultimately yours to make, and your lawyer will vigorously defend you in court if you choose to fight the charges.
In Kentucky, there is no statute of limitations for felony offenses, meaning you could be arrested and charged years after the offense allegedly took place. As time goes by, it can be harder to both prove and defend against criminal charges; make sure you call an experienced criminal defense attorney at your earliest opportunity to put you in the best position for a positive result.
Felony Convictions Can Be Vacated or Expunged
Kentucky law provides a long list of more than 60 Class D felonies that you can get vacated or expunged from your record, meaning you won’t have to disclose a record of the conviction if asked, and you might also be able to get some of your civil rights restored that are otherwise denied to felons. If you’ve had a clean record for five years from the completion of your sentence, talk to us about getting your conviction vacated. This process can require a hearing before the judge, which can be contested by the prosecutor or victims of the crime, and the burden is on you to prove with clear and convincing evidence that expungement is consistent with the welfare and safety of the public, is supported by your behavior since the conviction, and would be in the interests of justice.
Help With Felony Defense in London and Southeast Kentucky
If you’ve been arrested and charged with a felony in London or Southeast Kentucky, call the Cessna & George Law Firm at 606-770-5400 for immediate assistance. Make sure you call an attorney before you talk to the police or make any decisions about your case. We can help you get the best result considering the charges you are up against, so call now for a free consultation.