Do You Need a Lawyer When Charged with a Misdemeanor?
Misdemeanor criminal offenses are not as serious as felony crimes, meaning that if convicted, a person will face lighter jail sentences and lower fines. Sometimes, a misdemeanor will not even result in any jail time. Many people know misdemeanors are not as serious as felonies and so, they do not think they need legal representation. Still, fighting your charges on your own is never recommended. Below are just a few of the reasons why you should speak to an Orlando criminal defense lawyer, even if you have only been charged with a misdemeanor.
Types of Misdemeanor Offenses in Florida
Florida law outlines many different misdemeanor offenses, which include:
- Retail theft
- Driving under the influence
- Disorderly conduct
- Solicitation for prostitution
- Reckless driving
- Simple battery
- Criminal mischief
- Underage drinking or possession of alcohol
While the above charges are sometimes minor, you should never assume that you will only face a minor slap on the wrist. If you are convicted of a crime, even a misdemeanor, you could still face serious consequences.
Penalties for Misdemeanor Offenses
No one can say what penalties you will face if convicted of a misdemeanor without first fully reviewing the facts of your case. However, there are a number of penalties you may face, and they are as follows:
- A permanent record: Even a conviction for a misdemeanor will go on your permanent record. You may be able to have it sealed or expunged in the future, but the requirements for doing so are very strict. A permanent criminal record will make it more difficult to obtain employment, housing, and even academic opportunities.
- Jail time is still a possibility: You may not think you will have to serve jail time if you are convicted of a misdemeanor, but that is not necessarily true. For example, if you trespass when another person is in a building on the property, it is a first-degree misdemeanor and you could be sentenced to up to one year in jail.
- The terms of probation are strict: People sometimes think probation is only inconvenient, but that is not always the case. Depending on your case, you may have to comply with many strict terms of probation. You will have to check in with a probation officer regularly, and when it is convenient for them, not you. You may also have to abstain from alcohol or drugs and if you do not follow the terms, you could face jail time.
A lawyer will know the defense strategies to get your case dismissed, or your charges reduced so you face the least possible consequences.
Call Our Criminal Defense Lawyers in Orlando Today
If you have been charged with a misdemeanor, do not think the situation is not serious or that you do not need to speak to an Orlando criminal defense lawyer. At O’Mara Law Group, our seasoned attorneys will advise on your case, prepare a solid defense, and give you the best chance of a successful outcome. Call us today at 407-634-6604 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.