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Offered by: Brighton Resident Gregory R. McMahon, Esq.

Last month I gave a brief overview of the County Court system. This month, I will discuss the Adams District Court, which handles too many different types of cases to cover in an article of this length. Therefore, I will focus solely on the misdemeanor and felony cases that come before this court.

If you are arrested in Adams County, the District Attorney may decide to bring charges against you. You will then be assigned a case number. I am often asked, “What exactly does the letter in my case number mean?”

If your case number has a “T,” it means that you have been charged with a traffic violation. You need to understand exactly what the violation is, and especially if it is a Driving Under the Influence charge, you must take it very seriously.

If your case number has an “M,” it means that you have been charged with a misdemeanor criminal offense, which you also must take very seriously as you could be facing a potential large fine and even a jail sentence.

If your case number has a “CR,” that means you have been charged with a felony and need to talk to an attorney immediately because you are looking at a possible prison sentence.

Felony cases are often very complicated and can take a long time before either a plea bargain that resolves your case is reached or you decide to go to jury trial. In a District Court jury trial, you will get a jury of 12 persons. For the government to convict you, all 12 jurors must agree that you are guilty of the offense or offenses you were charged with. Depending on how severe the charge is, you could be sent to prison for many years or possibly the rest of your life.

In addition, a felony conviction in this state will very likely stay on your record for the rest of your life. This can have very serious ramifications for your future. Examples include some employers won’t hire convicted felons. Also, many apartment buildings will not rent you an apartment with a felony conviction. Moreover, it’s unlikely that you will ever have the right to own a gun again.

Therefore, do not take a felony case on alone. Many criminal defense attorneys, like me, offer free consultations either in person or by phone prior to your first court appearance.

This concludes my series on the overview of the court systems in our county. If you have suggestions for future topics, email me today at: – I would like to hear from you.

As always, the information in this column does not constitute legal advice as every case is very different. It also does not create an attorney-client relationship.

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