Why you should always fight Felony charges
Your world should you have a Felony
You might have sat around the dining room table at one time or another listening to tails from “Dad, Grandpa or Uncle” of how they once got into trouble as a youngster. They might have done some ‘joy riding’ or ‘stealing watermelons’ and the most that happened was they got caught by the police and brought home to face Mom and Dad. They probably did get a day in court and had to face an angry Judge. They Judge gave them a good yelling at, maybe threatened them with sending them into the Army or Juvenile detention of sorts. All in all they didn’t get anything more than a slap on the wrist. Those days are long gone.
Now there is no more ‘fun’ for youngsters, if they get into trouble, they are deep in trouble. The law doesn’t take teenage ‘goofing off’ lightly anymore. Maybe the first time you get caught the charges (depending on the crime) aren’t as serious and the Judge is able to give you some leniency. Most of the charges of today that ‘back in the day’ were just a slap on the wrist have now become a Felony.
A Shadow you DON'T want
A Felony is something you don’t want to mess with. A Felony is something that will follow you the rest of your life. It’s going to be your shadow, something you just can’t get rid of.
ALWAYS plead Not Guilty!
When you are charged with a crime and you go for your arraignment, this is when you will learn the extent of the charges. The Judge will tell you if it is a Misdemeanor or a Felony. Depending on your Court system you may get the opportunity at that time to make your plea. That would mean guilty or not guilty.
No matter what the charges are Misdemeanor or Felony and I am certainly not an Attorney but I would advise ALWAYS - ALWAYS plead NOT GUILTY. Why? If you plead guilty now, and then think better of it later, it will be difficult to change your mind. Oh it can be done (you will have 21 days in most States), but always remember once you speak a word it cannot be unspoken, it will be on the court’s records.
Then before any grass grows under your feet, and you forget what happened – get yourself a good Attorney. Make paying that Attorney your first priority! If it means eating Ramen Noodles for 6 months so be it, it will make your life much better in the long run.
The first thing you will notice is those jobs applications. They ask questions “Have you ever been charged with a crime other than a misdemeanor”? That would mean a Felony charge. There is usually a place for explanation but it is pretty much guaranteed that you will not get the job if you check ‘yes’. What happens if you check ‘no’? Most companies are doing background checks on people, so if you have a felony they will find out. Then you won’t get the job because you lied on your application.
Hunting? Not anymore
You might be an outdoor person, someone who likes to go hunting. You will soon discover that having a felony will prevent you from owning a firearm. It will not be for just the length of time that might be a probationary period, it will be for life.
You will never be able to have a concealed weapons permit. Never.
Sometimes the Felonies will affect your driver’s license. For instance a lot of times the charges come with losing one’s license for a period of time. Once that time is up you may then be able to go and get it back but what will you do in the mean time?
Some Felonies now days such as 'Felony child support' cause you to lose your license until you are paid up to date.
A matter of Public Record - Yep - You
You might think that getting that menial job with those questions may not seem important now but in the years to come, when that question is asked on various types of paperwork it will be like a thorn in your side. Never quite able to get rid of it, also that Felony becomes a matter of public record. Anyone with a keyboard can look it up and publish it on the Internet. Years later, you may have straightened up your life and have not gotten into any more trouble but someone with a bright idea decides to publish your past. Will it affect you? Only you can answer that question.
Will your career be down the toilet?
Getting a special license in most States will be difficult if not impossible. For instance in Florida the only license you can receive without full being excluded of Felonies is Cosmetology and Barbering. So any job that requires special licensing in Florida is out, it doesn’t say that you ‘can’t’ get a special license just that it will be a most difficult task. Each State differs in its requirements.
Any career that involves any type of drugs will not be permitted. Working in the medical field may be not allowed due to a Felony charge. Certainly working in a Pharmacy will be disallowed. A Dentist’s office will also fall under that umbrella because they have access to medications.
Job or career?
Working around children will not be permitted no matter what kind of Felony charge you have.
Working with the Elderly will not be permitted when you have a Felony on your record.
Even something as simple as a Janitorial position may not be permitted if either children or elderly are involved.
There are very few careers that you can have once a Felony has been attached to your name. A job is possible but having a career certainly not.
Getting into the Military is completely out. The background check that is done before joining any branch of the military would astound most. Juvenile records are obtained and gone over with a fine tooth comb. So if your future plans are to join the military then you will certainly NOT want a Felony charge on your record. The military no longer wants to ‘straighten out’ juveniles, they want young people who are goal oriented.
A Felony is still a Felony
So if you’re thinking of taking a ‘plea bargain’ with a Felony attached to it, think again. If you did not commit the crime then of course you MUST plead ‘Not Guilty’ to those charges. Even if it is costing you an arm and a leg to fight these charges, you MUST do so for your future!
Even if you never go to prison for your Felony (not all Felonies require that) it will still be a matter of record. Some Felonies are dealt with swiftly in the Court system – probation and fines. A Felony is still a Felony no matter how you slice it.
Guilt by association
Even living in the same home with a person who has a Felony can affect your life. There are certain jobs that you cannot have because you live with someone who has a Felony, particularly government jobs. It’s an ‘association’ thing that they look at, if you are willing to associate with a person who has committed a Felony, what are you capable of doing yourself? It doesn’t seem quite fair but that’s just the way that it is.
It WILL affect you - no matter what
There are certainly more reasons for not taking that ‘guilty’ plea to a Felony charge, some that have probably not even been thought of yet. Some future requirements that are still in the works I am sure. For example when Dad or Uncle (anyone else that you know for that matter) may have plead guilty to a Felony charge many years ago those questions weren’t on those job applications. The Internet was just in its infancy stages so you see how it might affect you in the future?
Innocent until proven Guilty - Make them do it!
The Law states ‘Innocent until proven guilty’ if you have been charged with a Felony, make them prove your guilt! Take it every step of the way. Yes, the road is long and hard and you may get discouraged and want to give in ‘just to get it over with’. The choice of course is always yours to make, whether or not to give in. Down the road a few years from now when it is ‘all over and done with’ and you can’t find a job or there are obstacles in your way because you didn’t fight every step of the way, who will be to blame?
The Courts seem to be handing out Felonies like they are candy and ‘we the people’ keep holding our hands out to take them. Many people never once think of their future when Felony charges are brought against them. Never once thinking of what they ‘can’t’ do with their lives once a Felony is on their record. If every person that is charged with a Felony were to ‘take it to trial’ those bringing charges would have to prove the guilt of said person.
The nightmare will only grow
I cannot tell you what to do, but I can tell you it is your life and your decision to make. Fight for it, fight for your ability to have some sort of normalcy even if you did make a mistake. The fight is just a short period of your life, once that fight is over, if you are victorious then life can go on and you can have some sort of regularity. It may seem at the time that the days are long and the nights are even longer as you worry about what will happen to you, if you will face jail time or huge fines. Your life is much longer than those few months. The nightmare that you suffer from now will only grow scarier as time goes on when you cannot do anything to support yourself (or family if you have one).