Brentwood Criminal Defense Attorney
Most criminal cases are tried at the state level, so having a thorough understanding of the laws in your state is important. Tennessee criminal laws, for instance, cover everything from theft to violent crimes. What is required to obtain a conviction for each of these offenses, however, varies depending on the allegations and the crime. To learn more about the types of strategies you can employ to defend yourself against unfair criminal charges, consider calling a dedicated Brentwood criminal defense attorney for help.
Categories of Criminal Offense
Criminal offenses fall under two main categories in Tennessee: misdemeanors and felonies. Misdemeanors are considered lesser crimes and include things like trespassing, vandalism, and even simple assault. Misdemeanors are typically punishable by up to a year in jail, fines, or a combination of the two. For first-time offenders, however, some judges may be willing to order probation, community service, or counseling.
Felonies, on the other hand, are much more serious and include crimes like sexual assault, violent offenses, and certain fraud-related crimes. Defendants who are convicted of felonies will usually spend at least a year in jail and be charged hefty fines. Even juvenile offenses (excluding status offenses) are charged as misdemeanors and felonies in Tennessee.
Misdemeanor and Felony Offenses by Class
Both misdemeanors and felonies have subcategories, which are known as classes and are based on the severity of the offense. Class A misdemeanors, for instance, are the most severe type of misdemeanor and include offenses like assault and domestic violence, while Class B is made up of intermediate crimes, such as criminal trespass, that come with lighter sentences. Class C misdemeanors, like public intoxication, are the least serious type of offense and are punishable by a maximum of 30 days in jail.
Similarly, Class A felonies are the most serious type of felony crime in Tennessee and are punishable by up to 60 years imprisonment. Violent offenses, like sexual assault, are often charged as Class A felonies. Class B felonies (i.e. aggravated burglary), on the other hand, are punishable by between eight and 30 years imprisonment, while Class C felonies, like aggravated assault, can result in up to 15 years imprisonment. Class D felonies, such as possession of large amounts of marijuana, are punishable by two to 12 years in jail, while Class E felonies can be punished by up to six years in prison.
Call Today to Learn About Your Potential Defenses
The types of defenses that a person raises when accused of a crime will depend on the type of crime with which he or she has been charged, the class of the offense, and whether the accused has a criminal record. Some crimes, for instance, require a showing of intent, while others do not. For help determining which kinds of defenses could help prove your own innocence, please call 615-861-2304 and speak with one of the dedicated Brentwood criminal defense lawyers at Beal, Nations & Crutcher today. You can also set up a meeting with a member of our legal team via online message.