A misdemeanor isn’t as heavy as other crimes but you can be charged for it and this will become part of your permanent record. Fortunately, you can fight it with the help of a criminal defense lawyer.
When you are charted with a misdemeanor, you are given a citation which states the date and time that you will appear in court.
Do you have to see a lawyer? Some people do so immediately so they can be guided throughout the process. For that, you have to hire one. Surely you can get somebody because if you don’t, a state appointed lawyer will be the one to help you but they don’t do that well compared to private counsel.
For you to quality a state appointed counsel, you will have to fill up a form. You will also be required to reimburse the state for the legal services of the public defender.
When you finally hire a lawyer, tell them what happened because only then will they be able to figure out a strategy to help you out. For instance, your lawyer can argue that illegal items that were found in your possession were planted. If that is the case, during the arraignment proceedings, you will enter a plea of not guilty.
What is the difference between a plea of guilty and not guilty? If you enter a guilty plea, you give up the right to a trial since you admit to the crime. However, when you plead not guilty, you will stand trial and the jury will decide whether or not you are really guilty of the crime.
Here, the prosecution will be bringing in witnesses, police reports and the evidence. Your criminal defense lawyer will have the chance here to dispute the findings and if he or she is successful, reasonable doubt is achieved and your chances of getting a not guilty verdict become higher.
Once the closing arguments are made, the jury will now deliberate. If you are found to be not guilty, then you walk. But if you are guilty, then you will be sentenced shortly which may mean paying a fine, spending some time in jail, doing community service and placed on probation. You can appeal your case of course which will be done by your criminal defense lawyer.
The objective in this proceeding is to get you a not guilty verdict so you don’t have to spend time in jail. However, if you are guilty and given the option to make a deal, perhaps you should take it.
The process of facing a misdemeanor charge is the same even if you are below 18 years of age. The only difference is that a parent or guardian is also present together with your lawyer when you have to face the judge.
Since being charged with a misdemeanor isn’t that serious, some people decide to represent themselves. If you decide to do this, make sure you are familiar with the law and the procedures involved in your case because during trial, no one will help you or advise you on what you should do. But if are not sure how the legal process goes, why trouble yourself when you can hire a criminal defense lawyer who does this for a living.