In Massachusetts, the main difference between felonies and misdemeanors is that felonies are most often punished by a state prison sentence, which could include a sentence as long as life in prison. Misdemeanors are generally defined as criminal offenses that cannot be punished by a state prison sentence. The penalties differentiate misdemeanors from felonies, but the nature of the crime committed will also change its classification from felony to misdemeanor.
For example, felony crimes in Massachusetts include, but are not limited to, assault, battery, murder and/or attempted murder, kidnapping, drug and narcotic charges, arson, burglary, and much more. This classification is reserved for the most serious crimes.
Misdemeanor crimes, as classified by the Massachusetts state government, typically include less serious crimes. Misdemeanors are often handled by the municipal or district court, and as mentioned previously, they carry a substantially less severe set of penalties.
Every state classifies misdemeanors and felonies differently, so be sure to discuss your arrest with a lawyer in your area right away after being arrested.
What Is The Difference Between Trial And Municipal Court?
There are many differences between trial and municipal court in Massachusetts. First and foremost, lesser offenses such as misdemeanors and traffic tickets and citations are seen in the municipal court rather than in a trial court. More serious charges such as felonies are handled by trial courts, complete with judges, a jury, and your lawyer. An individual cannot have a jury trial in municipal court– but you can still come equipped to a municipal hearing with an attorney.
Whether you have a trial court hearing or a municipal court violation, Boston criminal defense attorney Paul Toland can help you defend yourself against a criminal accusation, and will fight to have your penalties reduced as best as possible. All felonies carry serious penalties, but even a misdemeanor charge can negatively impact your life and make things difficult for you. With the help of the right attorney, you can reduce the risk of facing the most severe penalties following your arrest.
How Does A Criminal Defense Attorney Help Me Reduce Penalties For A Felony Or Misdemeanor?
It’s important to remember that all evidence can be disputed. If you are arrested for any kind of crime in Massachusetts, such as a felony or misdemeanor, any evidence that was taken either during the time that you committed the crime, or during the time you were arrested, can all be upheld and scrutinized in court. For example, let’s say that there was a police report taken at the time of your arrest. If the police report has any inaccuracies or some of the information does not line up with other documentation from your arrest, this evidence can be disputed in court.
Your lawyer will also help you determine what defenses you can take in court. For example, having an alibi can be an effective defense for certain criminal charges. If you have access to witnesses who can corroborate your story you may be able to persuade the jury that you were not present when the crime occurred. Even if you do not have witnesses to your alibi, a skilled criminal defense lawyer can suppress evidence any photo arrays or lineups that resulted in your identification and can argue that reasonable doubt exists.
In certain circumstances, you also may be able to plead self defense. Saying that you were acting in self defense can often be a reasonable defense for a criminal charge. For example, if a homicide was the result of a mutual fight, you may be able to use self-defense as an argument against your guilt, and ultimately a not guilty verdict. If your criminal defense attorney can present evidence showing that the murder victim had a violent past, it will help your case even more.
Schedule A Consultation With Toland Law Today To See If You Can Get Felony Or Misdemeanor Charges Reduced
If you have been charged with a felony or misdemeanor crime in Suffolk County, or anywhere in the greater Boston area, you must speak with an accomplished criminal defense lawyer as soon as you possibly can. At Toland Law, we offer years of experience and are ready to fight for your rights. We will stop at nothing to ensure your rights are upheld in a court of law, whether that’s municipal court or state court, and will work to ensure your penalties are minimized as best as possible.
If you or a loved one have been charged with any kind of criminal act in Boston, schedule a consultation with a criminal defense lawyer right away.