In the United States 13 million misdemeanor cases are filed every year. Criminal offenses are categorized into two groups: misdemeanors and felonies. Misdemeanors are classified as less serious offenses compared to felonies. Depending on the jurisdiction, a misdemeanor can lead to less than one year of jail time or a fine of a certain amount.
Different states use letter systems to classify misdemeanors. Most states have classes A, B, C, D, but some states use more classes and more letters for classification. Class A misdemeanors are the major types that attract a maximum of one year in jail.
Most people are reluctant to hire a criminal law attorney when charged with misdemeanors, mainly because of the cost implications.
What are the Common Types of Class A Misdemeanors?
- Underage Possession of Alcohol
- Bad cheques
Why you need a lawyer for Misdemeanor Charges
Since misdemeanor cases are not considered as serious as felonies, they are dismissed as minor crimes. Therefore, most people think they can handle charges independently, without any need for legal representation.
Whether you are charged with a felony or misdemeanor, the results implicated can be negative, long-term consequences.
The following are several reasons why hiring a lawyer when facing misdemeanor charges is worth it.
1. Possibility of doing Time
Depending on the state you’re in, misdemeanors can lead to time behind bars depending on the degree of crime. Your attorney will try his best to get your charges dismissed to avoid possible jail time by making a plea deal with the prosecutor. Alternatively, your lawyer will make you enter a diversion program/ community service.
2. You are subject to Major Penalties.
According to Texas law, a class A misdemeanor can attract a punishable jail sentence of nearly one year or a maximum fine of $4,000. The lowest form of a misdemeanor, a class C, results in a fine of up to $500. If found guilty, you may have to serve maximum penalties. The attorney accessing your case can reduce your penalties or, better yet, have your entire case dismissed.
3. You May Have a Permanent Criminal Record
When found guilty, a conviction on your permanent criminal record can negatively affect your professional and personal life. This may make it difficult for you to find employment, apply for University/ college, or find housing. Your criminal attorney can help you qualify for a record sealing or an expungement agreement during the case’s adjudication, and it will never show up in a criminal background check.
4. You Don’t Have to Plead Guilty.
Being arrested doesn’t necessarily mean you are guilty. You may encounter maximum penalties by pleading guilty without the help of a lawyer. A legal representation will work for the best outcome by deeply investigating, collecting evidence, and advising you on all possible consequences throughout your case.
No matter how simple the case you have been accused of seems to be, it would help if you had a strong attorney in your corner. It is a constitutional right to have legal counsel. A private attorney can provide efficient and personalized legal solutions to achieve the best possible outcome.