I’ve Been Charged With a Crime – Am I Going to Prison?

If it’s your first time facing criminal charges, you’re likely afraid of facing jail time. These feelings are completely understandable – the chance of spending time incarcerated is scary for almost anyone. It’s important to remember that criminal charges on their own aren’t a guarantee of jail time, and there’s still a lot of work to be done with the help of your legal counsel. Remaining calm and collected so that you’re able to make clear-minded decisions about your case is essential to securing a better outcome.

Is Prison Even on the Table?

Before we begin, it’s important to clarify a common source of confusion in how people speak about prison and jail. Although these terms are often used interchangeably, they hold very different meanings in the criminal justice system. Jails are typically used for temporarily holding those who are waiting to go to trial or to be sentenced, and they’re usually operated at a local level. In most cases, you’ll be offered the opportunity to be released on bail. Prisons, however, are reserved for long-term sentences and have varying levels of security, which generally determine the conditions of the prison.

In many cases, the possibility of going to prison simply isn’t even on the table. For first-time offenders, the Justice System will usually provide some other avenue by which you can be rehabilitated, such as community service or diversion programs. This is also the case for many low-level crimes, such as petty theft. The Justice System seeks to prevent future crime by giving first-time offenders the tools they need to avoid a similar mistake in the future, and so it often allows those without serious offenses a second chance.

There Are Still Alternatives

Even in cases of serious felonies, the possibility of prison time is higher, but still not guaranteed. Keep in mind that the prosecution may argue for prison time, but even then, it’s not set in stone. We know it’s difficult to keep the idea out of your mind, but your attorney will need you to be as clear-headed as possible to have the best chances of fighting your charges – and avoiding incarceration altogether. Acting calmly and rationally, showing up to all of your court dates, and demonstrating that you’re a stand-up citizen will go a long way for your case, instead of shutting down and refusing to cooperate. Ideally, you’ll have a great defense attorney to help you along the way – and that’s what we’re here for. Contact us today to schedule your consultation.

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Burke Brown Attorneys, PLLC

The first step of our approach here at Burke Brown Attorneys, PLLC? Listening to you explain your legal situation. Our attorneys have nearly 40 years of combined experience in successfully defending people against the most serious accusations.

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