If you have committed an illegal act but have been charged with the wrong crime, you may be frustrated, hopeful, afraid or some combination of these emotions. For example, if you have been charged with a more significant crime than you deserve, you may understandably be simultaneously afraid of conviction and hopeful that the charges will be dropped given that they are incorrect.
It is important to understand that if you have been charged with the wrong crime, an experienced criminal defense attorney can help you to understand your options. Your attorney may be able to get the charges dropped. However, even if he or she cannot get them dropped, your attorney may be able to argue for a lesser charge. A lesser charge may not seem like much of a change to your situation, but it can mean the difference between two very different sentences. For example, you may be sentenced to probation and community service as opposed to jail time.
Depending on the circumstances, your attorney may even be able to argue that the crime in question was not committed by you. Even if you have committed some illegal act, if you are not connected with the crime you have been accused of, your attorney may be able to pursue any number of options in order to reduce the chances that you will either serve a severe punishment or any punishment at all.
It is worth noting that criminal law is complex and nuanced. So, if you have any questions at all about whether you have been charged with the correct crime or not, please speak with an experienced attorney who can clarify matters moving forward.
Source: Findlaw Blotter, “Charged With the Wrong Crime? What Can You Do?” Brett Snider, July 15, 2014