What You Need to Know Before Hiring a Misdemeanor Lawyer
When you face charges, you should retain the services of a qualified misdemeanor defense lawyer to provide legal advice and representation. Learn more here.
Retain a Misdemeanor Lawyer for Legal Support
Although it isn’t as severe as being accused of a felony, if you are charged with a misdemeanor, it is a serious matter and requires a misdemeanor lawyer’s guidance. Any criminal charge could affect the lives of you and your family forever.
A misdemeanor is one step up from an infraction like minor drug possession accusations or traffic offenses, which generally receive penalties in the form of a ticket or fines. A misdemeanor receives more severe repercussions that include more significant fines, prison time, or a combination.
Misdemeanor charges are serious, and you shouldn’t attempt to handle them in court without the aid of a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney. In many cases, if you say the wrong thing to the wrong person, you could compound your existing charges with bribery. If you have been implicated in a misdemeanor, a Colorado criminal defense lawyer from Combs & Brown Law Firm, LLC can help you navigate the complexities of your case and prepare you for trial.
Weighing the Misdemeanor Lawyer Cost Against a Conviction
Although a misdemeanor lawyer’s cost may seem high, it is not nearly as pricey as the expense of a misdemeanor conviction. The State of Colorado lists many crimes as misdemeanors, which are less severe than a felony charge but more severe than a general infraction, like a traffic ticket.
That being said, if you are convicted of a misdemeanor crime, it can carry severe penalties, depending on the level and nature of the offense. This may result in you having to serve jail time or receive a probation sentence. Probation requires you to report to a probation officer regularly; there are usually fees involved.
Colorado Misdemeanor Charges and Their Ramifications
Colorado identifies misdemeanor crimes by class. Convictions of any criminal misdemeanor charges can mean jail time, fines, or both. Colorado breaks misdemeanors into three class types:
- A Class 1 crime, which includes “extraordinary risk of harm,” may carry a sentence of 6 to 24 months in jail and/or $500 to $5,000 fine. Charges that fall under this category include crimes such as 3rd-degree assault, sexual assault, unlawful sexual contact, child abuse, and violation of a protection order. A conviction without the “harm” designation could mean 6 to 18 months in jail and/or a $500 to $5,000 fine to pay.
- Class 2 crimes are less severe but may carry a sentence of 3 months to one year in jail and/or a $250 to $1,000 fine.
- Class 3 crimes are the least severe but still carry consequences that can have a serious impact on your life. A $50 fine is the minimum penalty, with the maximum being six months in county jail and/or a $750 fine.
Arrests that fall under the various misdemeanor classes can include cybercrime, some drug offenses, forgery, stalking, theft, and some traffic violations, to name a few. If you are convicted of any class of misdemeanor, it will go on your permanent record.
Contact Combs & Brown Law Firm at 970-871-7400 to begin mounting a swift and strategic defense. Our defense attorneys are available 24/7.
Do I Need a Lawyer for a Misdemeanor?
If you are accused of breaking the law, you may be wondering, “Do I need a lawyer for a misdemeanor?” In nearly all cases, the answer is yes. In fact, hiring a lawyer for a misdemeanor is essential when facing any type of criminal or misdemeanor charge.
When you are implicated in a prohibited activity that is less extreme than a felony and doesn’t mandate a prison sentence, you will likely be charged with a criminal misdemeanor. If you are convicted of a misdemeanor crime, you can be sentenced to the county jail and may be placed on supervised or unsupervised probation for 3 to 5 years.
Supervised probation requires that you meet with your probation officer regularly and meet other specific benchmarks. Individuals who receive unsupervised probation can not receive any other convictions while on probation, or they will receive the full weight of the original sentence. Your legal counsel will be able to explain the ramifications of all of the potential penalties you may face, as well as help you plan a defense.
What Crimes Are Charged as Misdemeanor?
A variety of crimes can be charged as misdemeanors. They are organized according to the type of crime committed. General misdemeanors include:
- Criminal mischief resulting in damages of less than $500
- Disorderly conduct
- Disregarding noise ordinances
- Internet crimes
- Property crimes like trespassing
- Public intoxication
- Resisting arrest
- Theft involving items worth less than $500
Driving misdemeanors consist of reckless driving, including DUI or DWI, that causes another person’s death or injury.
Drug misdemeanors are issued to state residents who are in possession of any schedule 5 controlled substance and to those who possess less than eight ounces of marijuana but more than one.
So although the State of Colorado permits up to one ounce of marijuana possession for personal use, state drug laws forbid possessing or consuming marijuana in public. Misdemeanor offenses that include marijuana possession are punishable depending on the quantity of drugs found. Possession of more than 2 ounces but less than 6 is punishable by 3 to 12 months of jail time and up to $1,000 in fines. On the other hand, a marijuana possession offense, when having from 6 to 12 ounces of the drug in your possession can result in up to 18 months in county jail and up to $5,000 in fines.
Individuals who have a legal medical marijuana card can legally own up to 6 marijuana plants and have up to two ounces of a usable form of marijuana.
Assault misdemeanors include child abuse, domestic violence, and third-degree assault, among others.
Sexual misdemeanors include crimes that are less serious than sexual felonies. They include the following:
- Indecent exposure
- Sexual misconduct
These misdemeanor offenses still come with registration requirements if convicted.
Average Cost of a Lawyer for a Misdemeanor
Since misdemeanor charges aren’t as black and white as the classifications make them appear, the average cost of a criminal defense lawyer for a misdemeanor varies to reflect that. Although sentences may seem standard, they can vary widely based on individual circumstances like cause and potential for injury, etc.
Additionally, if the criminal offense is on the less serious side, a plea deal might be reached that permits the implicated to receive a lower penalty, like community service or probation, rather than jail time. If, however, the misdemeanor proved to be a great danger to society, the judge may sentence the perpetrator to an extra 180 days in jail over what the misdemeanor’s class ranking usually dictates.
Hiring a criminal defense lawyer for a misdemeanor is necessary to ensure that you have the best defense for your situation. The more complex your case, the more expensive your attorney is likely to be.
Understanding How “Wobbler” Cases Affect Attorney Cost
Often, clients find it difficult to determine whether their criminal activity is a misdemeanor or a felony, and a skilled attorney will explain how “wobbler” cases work. A criminal offense that would typically be charged as a misdemeanor might rise to a felony under particular situations.
Crimes that are typically misdemeanors but could be raised to a felony include the following situations:
- Accused has previous convictions for a comparable criminal activity
- Petty theft of less than $500 in a church or school
Criminal offenses involving business, individual, or residential property generally result in felony charges. Still, they can be prosecuted as misdemeanors if nobody was threatened of being hurt, like with arson or burglary of a deserted structure.
A good attorney-client relationship will help you understand your rights and provide the best experience while fighting your charges.
A Misdemeanor Defense Lawyer Can Help With Your Case
A misdemeanor defense lawyer will advise you what to do if you face serious criminal charges that can be on your criminal record if you are convicted. A criminal record can usually be sealed when it comes to convictions for misdemeanor crimes. However, whether a petition to seal a criminal record will be granted is within the judge’s discretion and that cannot be guaranteed.
In some cases, your legal agent can appear in court at the arraignment in your place and enter your plea of “guilty,” “innocent,” or “no contest.” If you plead no contest or guilty, you will be required to appear in-person at the sentencing. If you plead innocent, you will be required to appear at the trial with your legal representative.
It depends on your charges, but your misdemeanor lawyer will be able to advise you appropriately.
Call an Experienced Misdemeanor Defense Attorney to Protect Yourself Against Charges
A misdemeanor defense attorney will provide the experience and skill to help you prepare for your hearing and represent you throughout the trial. They may even be able to have your charges dropped or reduced to a lesser offense.
Remember, if you are arrested for a misdemeanor crime, you have the right to remain silent. Use it. Call an experienced attorney to ensure your rights are protected. Don’t delay! The quicker your situation can be examined, the better. Combs & Brown will work hard to see if there are grounds for dismissal of your case and if not, we’ll strive to get you the best case results that minimize the impact on your life.
Contact us now at 970-871-7400 for a free consultation with a criminal defense attorney.