Misdemeanors Should Be Taken Seriously. We Help Our Clients Do So.
Although the state considers misdemeanors as minor offenses, the accused may face severe consequences depending on the circumstances. While many misdemeanors result in sentences that include probation, fines and mandatory counseling, misdemeanor sentences can include jail time. A misdemeanor carries up to a year in jail. Since the consequences of conviction are significant, everyone charged with any crime is entitled to representation from an attorney.
Choosing the right misdemeanor attorney may be the difference between a case dismissal or a year in jail. We handle all crimes, misdemeanors and felonies alike. Here are just a few examples of the most common types of crimes that would qualify as a misdemeanor:
Driving Under the Influence is referred to in some jurisdictions as Driving While Intoxicated. Though there are some circumstances which can increase the offense from misdemeanor to felony, a DUI is generally a misdemeanor. During the course of the traffic stop, the police will invariably ask the accused to perform field sobriety exercises. Agreeing to perform field sobriety exercises is entirely voluntary and no adverse consequence can result from refusing to perform them. Keep in mind that refusing to take a breath test may result in a suspended license. The reality is that field sobriety exercises are a way for the police to gather evidence of what they have already concluded — that the driver is under the influence. A traffic stop for DUI has to be based on probable cause or at least reasonable suspicion; as such, the police generally watch the accused for some distance to take note of their driving pattern before ever effectuating a stop. Having an advocate who understands the inadequacy of the field sobriety exercises can be vital to pretrial litigation; motions may result in throwing the entire case out.
Most people think of assault as striking someone. That is not accurate. Striking someone constitutes the crime of battery (see below). Assault is placing someone in fear of an immediate injury or attempting to commit a battery. For example, yelling “I’m going to kill you” while holding a baseball bat would qualify as an assault. Also, trying to punch someone but missing would also qualify as an assault. Most people do not commit an assault without a reason; depending on the circumstances, the victim’s background may reveal why the accused felt the need to commit the alleged assault. Involve a misdemeanor attorney as soon as possible to gather and present evidence that may convince the state to forego filing the charges.
A battery occurs when an accused intentionally causes substantial physical harm or visible bodily harm to another. Just like with DUI, there are certain circumstances that can increase the level of offense (such as if the accused has prior convictions for battery), but battery is generally a misdemeanor charge. Charges of family violence battery can affect your ability to possess, purchase and carry firearms for the rest of your life. The range of conduct that this offense covers is huge. A battery can be as simple as a slap that causes a bruise, or as severe as a vicious attack at a bar where an eye ends up swollen completely shut. The crime of battery has numerous defenses to it, one of which is self-defense. The circumstances when physical force can be used in self-defense, defense of another or even in defense of property are limited. Having a knowledgeable misdemeanor attorney who understands the circumstances in which force is legal may mean the difference between an acquittal and a jail sentence.
There are various forms of theft. The most common form is the taking of the property of another with the intent to permanently deprive the owner of the property. The value of the property determines the level of offense. If the property taken is worth less than $500, the theft is a misdemeanor charge. Most shoplifting offenses are for items valued under $500 and therefore would be considered misdemeanor. However, theft may also occur by receiving stolen property which is when an accused receives, disposes of, or even merely keeps stolen property. Again, if the value of the property is under $500, this offense is a misdemeanor. Determining a property’s value is not always easy, particularly if the property is not brand new. A savvy advocate familiar with challenging both lay witness and expert testimony regarding value can be critical to a successful disposition of a theft case.
Possession of a small amount of marijuana is a misdemeanor, while possession of large amounts of marijuana is a felony. For a first-time offender, many jurisdictions have diversion programs for misdemeanor marijuana charges as well as drug court programs. Completion of these programs allow for a charge dismissal. The requirements for entering and for the successful completion of these programs vary from courthouse to courthouse. Having a misdemeanor attorney with experience convincing the state to let a defendant into the program, and who also understands the strict requirements of each program, is essential to successful completion for any client.
Contact Our Misdemeanor Attorneys
A conviction for any crime, even a misdemeanor, can affect your life for years to come. Don’t let the fact that a charge is a misdemeanor fool you, the possibility of jail time is still very real. In addition to the potential cost of your freedom, a conviction can cost you money to pay fines, complete court-ordered programs and participate in probation, not to mention the long-term cost of decreased employment opportunities and social stigma.
No one should face a judge or a jury alone; you need an advocate whose tenacity will ensure that the result in your case is the best possible result for you and your family. Our attorneys are available to help. Call top legal advocates today at 770-919-9525 or use the online contact form.