Misdemeanor / Felony Charges
Tennessee is one of the states in the US that has a mandatory sentencing law. This means that the judge will have to sentence someone to a certain number of years in prison for committing a crime. The judge will also have to classify the crime committed by the offender. There are three classifications of crimes in Tennessee: misdemeanor, felony, and aggravated felony.
Misdemeanor crimes are less serious than felony crimes and they are punishable by up to one year in jail or fines up to $2,500 or both. These include minor offenses like trespassing, vandalism, reckless driving, simple assault, etc. Felony crimes are more serious than misdemeanors and they can be punishable by more than one year in prison or fines up to $25,000 or both. These include major
Felony charges in Tennessee can have a lasting impact on your reputation, livelihood, earnings, rights, and yes, your freedom. Our Memphis Criminal Defense Attorneys have experience handling cases with over a combined 70 years of representing clients throughout Memphis, Jackson, Fayette, Tipton, Lauderdale, Hardeman, and Haywood counties. We have represented numerous individuals from the beginning of a criminal charge, through trials and appeals, and we regularly appear in both State Courts (General Sessions, Criminal or Circuit) and Federal Courts. Felonies in Memphis and Shelby County often begin "downstairs" or General Sessions at 201 Poplar and some can be resolved at that level, or they may have to go "upstairs" to Criminal Court. Depending on the county where the criminal charges are brought, some jurisdictions have Circuit Court that has similar jurisdiction to Criminal Court in Shelby County. We can handle cases in all of those courts, including outside of Shelby County.
Felony charges that our Criminal Defense Attorneys have handled include, but are not limited to, Murder, Robbery, Theft, Sexual Assault, Drug Possession, Domestic Violence (Aggravated Assault), and Gun Charges among numerous others. We understand that life situations often may find you or your loved ones facing criminal charges. In those times, our Attorneys are there to work aggressively and collaboratively with you and your family to protect your valuable legal rights and preserve your liberty. There are different degrees of felonies and defenses that may apply to your case. In our nation and under our laws, you are "presumed innocent" and until you have contacted us, it is important that you understand your important constitutional rights, including your "right to remain silent" before speaking to the police or law enforcement. If your criminal charges are dismissed or found not guilty, you are entitled to have your charges "expunged" from your record. If you happened to be convicted of some offense, you may be eligible and can apply for probation or diversion (a type of probation allowing the charge to be cleared from your record upon successful completion) which in most instances allows you to avoid imprisonment. Contact us promptly if you are facing criminal charges or if you have a warrant for your arrest so that we can work to promptly begin protecting your rights.
Capital crime – Includes first-degree murder and felony murder. Punishments include death and life imprisonment
Class A felony – Not less than 15 nor more than 60 years in prison. In addition, the jury may assess a fine not to exceed $50,000, unless otherwise provided by statute
Class B felony – Not less than eight nor more than 30 years in prison. In addition, the jury may assess a fine not to exceed $25,000, unless otherwise provided by statute
Class C felony – Not less than three years nor more than 15 years in prison. In addition, the jury may assess a fine not to exceed $10,000, unless otherwise provided by statute
Class D felony – Not less than two years nor more than 12 years in prison. In addition, the jury may assess a fine not to exceed $5,000, unless otherwise provided by statute
Class E felony – Not less than one year nor more than six years in prison. In addition, the jury may assess a fine not to exceed $3,000, unless otherwise provided by statute
In Tennessee, charges are classified as felonies or misdemeanors. Misdemeanor arrests take place usually in one of two forms: (1) Misdemeanor citations or custodial arrests. (Tennessee Code Annotated 40-7-118) Misdemeanors are the less serious of the two types of crimes and they can carry up to 11 months and 29 days in jail depending on the type of misdemeanor. You may be wondering if jail time is required in misdemeanors or whether can you get probation for misdemeanor crimes.
The answer is yes, probation is available depending on the type of case and your record.
Most misdemeanors also carry what's called "diversion", a type of probation that, if completed successfully, will come off your criminal record, thus avoiding the potential stigmas and damage to your reputation and ability to earn a living. On the other hand, the offense of Driving Under the Influence (DUI) is not eligible for diversion in Tennessee which means it could remain on your record if convicted. Although not requiring as severe penalties or as much jail time as felonies, misdemeanors should be taken seriously and you should contact a Memphis Criminal Defense Attorney promptly to protect your valuable legal rights.
Class A misdemeanors: Not more than 11 months, 29
Class B misdemeanors: Not more than six months
Class C misdemeanors: Not more than 30 days in jail