Being charged with a misdemeanor is a serious matter. If convicted, you could face up to a year in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000. However, misdemeanors are not as severe as felonies, and there are several ways to navigate the criminal justice system if charged with one. The following is an overview of what you can expect if you receive a misdemeanor charge. Read on to learn more.
What is a misdemeanor charge?
Many people are unsure of what, exactly, a misdemeanor is. A misdemeanor is a crime with a punishment of up to a year in jail or a fine of $1,000. Compared to a felony, which is a more serious crime punishable by more than a year in prison or a fine of more than $1,000, a misdemeanor is less severe. However, a misdemeanor charge is still serious, and you should not take it lightly.
Some of the most common types of misdemeanors include:
-Possession of drugs
-Possession of a weapon
What happens if I am charged with a misdemeanor?
You will receive a summons or an arrest warrant. If you get a subpoena, you do not have to go through the booking process and will be able to post bail immediately. This process is usually the case for less serious misdemeanors. If you receive an arrest warrant, you will have to go through the booking and not be able to post bail until after your arraignment.
During the bail hearing, a judge will decide whether or not to release you on bail. If they dismiss you on bail, you will be required to pay a sum of money to be released from jail. If you cannot pay the bail, you will remain in jail until your trial. This is when you should seek help from a criminal lawyer who can help you get a lower bail or no bail. They may also be able to have the charges against you dropped entirely.
What happens at trial?
If you choose to go to trial, the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed the crime you are being accused of. If the jury finds that the prosecutor has met this burden, then you will be convicted and may face jail time and/or a fine. If the jury finds that the prosecutor has not met this burden, you will be acquitted and will not face any penalties.
Depending on the crime you are accused of, the law may try you in either a misdemeanor or felony court. Misdemeanor courts are less formal than felony courts and usually have a smaller jury. If tried in a misdemeanor court, you will only face misdemeanor charges. However, if tried in a felony court, you could face both misdemeanor and felony charges.
What are the penalties for a misdemeanor conviction?
The penalties for a misdemeanor conviction vary depending on the severity of the crime. For example, the fines for a DUI are usually more severe than the penalties for assault. However, the penalties for misdemeanor conviction generally include up to a year of jail time and a $1,000 fine.
In some cases, you may also be required to complete community service, attend counseling, or pay restitution. Restitution is money you have to pay the victim of the crime to compensate for the damages you caused. For example, if convicted of theft, you may have to pay restitution to the victim for the value of the property that you stole.
Can I get a misdemeanor charge expunged?
In some cases, you may be able to have your misdemeanor charge expunged. This means that the charge will be removed from your criminal record. However, there are specific requirements that you must meet to have your charge expunged. For example, you may only be eligible for an expungement if you were arrested but not convicted or completed a diversion program.
If you are facing a misdemeanor charge, it is essential to seek the help of a lawyer. They can help you navigate the criminal justice system and protect your rights. They may also be able to have the charges against you dropped or reduced. Contact one today to learn more about your rights and options.
Misdemeanors are serious charges that can result in jail time or fines if convicted. However, there are ways to navigate the criminal justice system if you have been charged with one. If you have been accused of a misdemeanor, you must understand what happens after being charged, what happens at trial, and your options for defending yourself against the charge.