Be Aware: Misdemeanor Charges May Have Serious Consequences!
It is easy to think that a misdemeanor criminal charge may not be a big deal. Do not assume that because your charge is not a felony, you do not have to worry. A misdemeanor charge may have serious consequences requiring an experienced criminal defense attorney to assist you. Almost all crimes have both direct and indirect consequences and sorting this out requires professional help.
A judge may impose direct consequences for a misdemeanor charge if you are convicted . While these punishments may be lower than for felonies, they are not insignificant and can easily take you away from your family and friends and/or affect your finances.
•Jail: If you are involved in multiple misdemeanor offenses you may be sentenced to a year or more in jail. Some misdemeanors such as being under the influence of a controlled substance carry minimum mandatory jail time of 90 days.
•Fines: Misdemeanor crimes may require fines from $1,000 to $2,500 in some jurisdictions. Once the civil assessments are imposed, the fines become a significant amount of money that, if unpaid, can lead to violation of probation.
•Mandatory Classes: You may be required to attend classes for some crimes such as driving under the influence of alcohol, petty thefts, being under the influence, or domestic violence.
In some cases you may be sentenced to community service or court supervision restricting your freedom.
Indirect consequences are different in that they are typically either immigration or civil penalties outside of the criminal penalties. These may make it hard for you to get on with your life and should not be taken lightly either. Some of these may be:
•Loss of the right to own a firearm: Some misdemeanor convictions restrict the right to own a firearm: For example, anyone who is convicted of a crime involving domestic violence, may not own any type of gun.
•Ineligibility for public housing, housing vouchers, or other public benefits: The public housing authority has the right to deny you housing if there is compelling evidence you were or are involved with drug or alcohol related activities.
•Finding employment: While most states have laws against discrimination on the basis of a criminal record, it can be hard to enforce if you are in an employment-at-will state.
•Driver's license suspension: In some cases you may lose your license to drive. For example, a driving under the influence of alcohol may suspend your privilege to drive for up to six months.
•Loss or denial of a professional license: If you require a professional license to do your job, a misdemeanor conviction can cause your license to be suspended effectively putting you out of business.
•Deportation: Immigrants with a legal permanent resident status could be deported if charged with certain misdemeanors.
Being charged with a misdemeanor is no small thing and should not be taken lightly. You want to make sure that you find an experienced criminal defense attorney that can help you with this situation to protect your rights.
How do you find the right criminal defense attorney?
The first thing you want to do is to go on the internet and look at backgrounds and experience, even if you are referred to an attorney. Look at their reviews, not just a fancy website. You want to know what past clients have said about the attorney.
If you would like more information, I invite you to call my office at (619)232-1010 for a FREE consultation.
About the Author
Roseline D. Feral
is an experienced criminal defense attorney with more than 28 years of experience. If you've been arrested or charged with any crime, including a misdemeanor, call Roseline for a FREE consultation:http://sandiegoscriminaldefenseattorney.com/
Submitted on: 2015-05-16 08:46:58