Felonies are generally considered the most egregious crimes you can commit. Although all felony charges are serious, even this criminal classification has various levels.
When facing felony charges in Tennessee, you should learn all you can about these crimes and their consequences.
Felony Classes in TN
Felony charges in Tennessee are classified based on the severity of the crime. The classification ranges from Class A to Class E, with Class A being the most severe. The more serious the crime, the heavier the penalties are.
Even though Class E felonies are the least severe, they can still result in several years of prison time and hefty fines.
Penalties for Different Felony Classes in TN
15 to 60 years in prison
Fines up to $50,000
8 to 30 years in prison
Fines up to $25,000
3 to 15 years in prison
Fines up to $10,000
2 to 12 years in prison
Fines up to $5,000
1 to 6 years in prison
Fines up to $3,000
Long Terms Effects of Felony Convictions
A felony can follow you long after you serve your sentence. It can affect future opportunities for employment and education, and it can even limit where you can live.
Convicted felons often face significant discrimination from potential employers. Businesses are often hesitant to hire someone with a criminal record. Likewise, many educational institutions are less willing to accept applicants with a criminal history. Landlords are also guilty of judging potential tenants, afraid that they will continue their past behavior.
Consequently, a felony charge can make it extremely difficult to get your life back on track and rejoin society as a productive, law-abiding citizen.
Examples of Class A List Felonies in TN
- Acts of terrorism
- First-degree murder
- Rape of a child younger than 13
- Aggravated rape (rape that causes injury)
Fighting Class A Felony Charges in Tennessee
If you are facing Class A felony allegations, here are the steps you should take:
- Hire a competent attorney who can help you build a strong defense against the charges. Your lawyer will investigate the case, gather evidence, and find ways to prove your innocence.
- Follow your lawyer’s advice. They are looking out for your best interests, and they know the best steps that can strengthen your case.
- Avoid discussing the case with anyone but your attorney.
Remember, you have constitutional rights that protect you, and a qualified attorney can help make sure those are respected.
Options for Getting Legal Help with Felony Charges in Tennessee
First, you have a legal right to retain a public defender’s services. The court appoints these attorneys to represent people who cannot afford a private attorney. You should know, however, that public defenders often have high caseloads. Often, they cannot devote as much time to your case as you would like.
Additionally, you can use legal aid organizations. Many non-profits offer legal services to low-income individuals.
For best results, seek the services of a private attorney. This option can be more expensive, but it comes with more benefits. For instance, you can get more personalized attention, leading to a stronger defense.
Regardless of which option you choose, make sure to act quickly. It’s best to get the support you need as soon as possible.
Mitigating the Consequences of a Felony Case
As we keep saying, your first step is to get a good lawyer to represent you, but there are other ways to keep the immediate consequences at bay.
After getting legal help, your next concern is prioritizing your mental health and wellbeing during this stressful time. All the waiting, worry, and uncertainty take a toll on your mind and your body. Seek therapy or counseling to cope with the anxiety that comes with the criminal justice process.
Additionally, be honest and transparent with your employer and loved ones. Show them that you are taking responsibility and working to overcome this obstacle. This step can help you preserve your personal relationships and your income.
Common Defense Strategies Against Serious Felony Charges
Your lawyer might argue that the prosecution has not met its burden of proof. Put simply, they are claiming that your accusers did not prove their case. Defense lawyers are skilled at pointing out holes in felony allegations. Sometimes, the evidence is so weak, your attorney can stop the case from ever going to trial.
Alternatively, your defender may negotiate a plea bargain with the prosecution. In this process, the defendant pleads guilty, and in exchange, they receive a reduced sentence.
If your case goes to trial, your lawyer can cross-examine witnesses, looking for holes or inconsistencies in their accounts. Defense attorneys also present evidence that refutes the prosecution's case.
There is no “one-size-fits-all” approach to a criminal defense. There are limitless strategies available. Work closely with your attorney, and they can tailor their defense to help meet your unique goals.
If you are facing felony charges in TN, reach out to our team online today. We may be able to start working on a defense right away. You can also call our office at (931) 361-4477.