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What Exactly is the So-called 3rd Degree Felony?

3rd Degree Felony
If someone you know has been convicted of a 3rd degree felony, then there are some basic things you must be aware of.
Rohini Mohan
Last Updated: Apr 9, 2018
3rd degree felony are crimes that are considered as extremely serious and grave in nature, though they are the least serious among the higher grade felonies such as those which come under the purview of 1st degree felony.

The crimes and its subsequent charges that fall under this category may vary from state to state, depending to the laws governing that jurisdiction. Nonetheless, there are always a majority of crimes that are common for all states within a subcategory of crimes and punishments.
Felonies of the Third Degree - § 12.34
(a) An individual adjudged guilty of a felony of the third degree shall be punished by imprisonment in the institutional division for any term of not more than 10 years or less than 2 years.

(b) In addition to imprisonment, an individual adjudged guilty of a felony of the third degree may be punished by a fine not to exceed $10,000.
Many courts practice the method of providing classification of a crime on the basis of numbers, while some adapt Alphabets so as to denote the gravity of the crime committed. The lowest numbers and letters represent the gravest crimes under this felony. Each felon is required to spend a fixed period of 10 years or less than 2 years. The list of crimes that a third degree felony is charged with, also depends on the past criminal record of the offender. It also depends on the severity of the crime committed, as well as whether there were any special circumstances included while committing the crime. For instance the use of a gun drastically changes the way the case would be decided by the judge and therefore special attention would be given to such cases as they are grave in nature.
Example of 3rd Degree Felony Charges
Child Molestation
Child Molestation
Drug possession
Drug possession
Abuse of Elderly persons.
Abuse of Elderly persons.
▣ Transmission of pornography
▣ Assault and Battery
▣ Driving under influence
▣ Evading arrest
▣ Fraud
▣ Embezzlement
▣ Arson
Imprisonment Charges and Fine
Man in prison
As per all penal laws, the maximum jail serving time is either not more than 10 years for various kind of serious offenses or for repeated offenders. While for less serious 3rd degree felonies and first time offenders, the prison sentence is less than 2 years. The fine for this category of crime is limited to not more than $10,000 (Ten thousand US dollars), though this amount is subject to change as per the court's decision.
Personal Rights
Police officer and female criminal
Each individual when arrested and taken under police custody has some basic rights, which are known as the Miranda Warnings. It is the duty of the police to inform you about your rights, though they will do it only once you are under their custody. It is safer to know about these rights beforehand, as you may never know as to when they may come in need.
Following are the basic rights common for all arrested suspects :

▣ The right to not speak to the police, even under interrogation.
▣ The right to have the offender's lawyer notified about his arrest and that the lawyer be allowed to meet the offender in prison.
▣ The right to have the court provide legal representation for the offender through an attorney. Only in rare cases, if the offender cannot afford an attorney through his own finances.
Need for Legal Representation
If a trial does take place involving the offender's case, then he/she still have some more basic rights that will apply in the court of law.
lawyer and agent
These rights are as follows :

▣ Right to be represented through a lawyer.
▣ Right to have a speedy and fair trial.
▣ Not to testify if the accused does not wish to.
▣ The right to call upon witnesses who can support the innocence of the offender.
▣ And finally the right to prevent the possibility of being brought to court on trial for the same case again.
A good lawyer can help settle the case through plea bargaining if your case is not too serious. While the trial is pending, you may be allowed to remain free on bail and wait for the judgment to be passed or the case to be settled. They may even get to do community work through probation, which is a reformative method for encouraging offenders to never commit another crime.