Posted on: 24 August 2017
Many people associate the need for a criminal defense attorney with those charged with a felony. Thinking the need for legal counsel is not necessary when charged with a misdemeanor. But this is not true, and the consequences can be severe. The following are a few reasons to consider hiring a criminal defense attorney for a misdemeanor charge.
It may be possible to have the charges dropped
Depending upon the circumstance of the case, it is possible that your misdemeanor charge can be dismissed. This is especially true if the evidence against you is weak and you have not incriminated yourself in any way. But this is something that you will not be able to achieve yourself. An attorney will have a good idea of the district attorney's chances of winning at trial, and if the chances are weak, it is possible that the charge could be dropped. Sometimes the complainant or a witness will not want to waste their time in court on a violation of the law they deem minor.
To plea bargain for a reduced sentence
In a misdemeanor case, you can still plead not guilty and have a trial. Trials are expensive and the outcomes are never certain. It is possible that a plea bargain can be made that will result in a reduced penalty. Keep in mind that a fine is only one possible penalty. A charge may carry the potential of a jail sentence. Depending upon the charge or charges against you and the laws of the state you are in, a judge is likely to have leeway in the sentencing. By pleading guilty without consulting an attorney, it is possible to get a harsher sentence than you anticipated.
To win the case and avoid a criminal record
Although it is rare for someone to plead guilty to a felony, people will sometimes plead guilty to a misdemeanor even though they may believe they are innocent. They simply want to put the incident behind them and get on with their lives. However, there can be repercussions. One example is a misdemeanor charge of reckless driving. Once this is on your record it can cause your insurance rates to go up. It can even affect your job, especially if it involves driving.
The reasons for consulting an attorney for a misdemeanor listed above only scratch the surface, there are others. The important thing to remember is that you should never plead guilty to charges against you, even if they are misdemeanors, without first consulting an attorney. A misdemeanor charge is not always as cut and dry as it may appear to someone without a legal background.Share