The biggest misconception many people have about going to jail is that it can’t possibly happen to them because they’re a nice, middle-class person who just made a mistake. Of course, in some cases, if you are convicted the judge has no choice: You’re going to go to jail.
For instance, if you are charged with possession of a handgun, it doesn’t matter if you were the most law-abiding person in the world and you had no idea that you weren’t allowed to have a handgun; you will be facing very substantial time in jail if convicted. The minimum sentence for criminal possession of a loaded handgun is three and one-half years in prison; if it’s unloaded, it’s an E felony and the prison time is less, but the fact that you are a good guy who has never been in trouble before and that you really didn’t know it was bad does not protect you.
You need an attorney who is able to show both the district attorney and the court why your case should be treated differently, and why they shouldn’t even prosecute you on the most serious charges. Many people go in assuming everything will work out, but unfortunately it doesn’t.
Crimes With Mandatory Jail Time
The example above is a perfect example of that; even if someone is a good person who just made a stupid mistake, they will have to spend time in jail. In DWI cases, courts are starting to sentence even first offenders to jail or long probations, and you have to fight to prevent that from happening.
In some counties, it is almost automatic that the DA will ask for jail time for a first offender and the judge will go along, so you really cannot just sit back and expect to get a simple fine; it’s not how it works anymore.
Just about every crime carries with it the possibility of jail, but some crimes carry a mandatory jail sentence for a second and subsequent offense and many other crimes for which jail is almost automatic in practice. For example, if you are a repeat DWI offender, the assumption is that you will go to jail and you will have to do everything possible to keep that from happening. It can be done, but it’s not automatic.
For more information on Misconceptions About Jail Time, contact The Law Office of Martin D. Kane at (718) 793-5700 to schedule a free initial consultation. Get the information and legal answers you’re seeking.