Misdemeanor Offenses: Why Involve an Attorney?
The American criminal justice system is structured to prosecute and penalize individuals who have been convicted of crimes. Because every case and charge is different, there is not only room for discretion in the way prosecutors choose to charge defendants or judges choose to sentence them, but also different classifications of crime our justice system categorizes by severity. Generally, when it comes to being charged with a crime, our system recognizes two classes of offenses: misdemeanors and felonies.
Although felonies get a great deal of attention for their serious nature – as well as their serious penalties (longer terms of imprisonment, difficulties assimilating into post-conviction life, etc.) – misdemeanors are in every way a serious allegation with the potential to create considerable short- and long-term consequences, as well as a criminal record. If you or someone you love has been charged with a misdemeanor, do not be misled into thinking these are inconsequential charges, that you can simply plead guilty or use a public defender, or that you don’t need a proven lawyer.
Here are a few reasons why working with a private defense attorney for a misdemeanor offense is important:
- Serious penalties at stake – Although every charge is different, misdemeanors still have the potential to result in serious penalties, some of which can affect your life in profound ways. These penalties not only include financial repercussions associated with fines and fees, as well as various court-ordered classes or requirements that cost money, but also the threat of incarceration in a country jail for up to a year. Incarceration not only strips you of your freedom, but also makes it difficult to retain employment or find employment when you return to civilian life. Some misdemeanors also have additional consequences, including probation, community service, driver’s license penalties (DUI), and even the loss of civil rights, such as being prohibited from purchasing a firearm (domestic violence or certain drug crimes). These penalties can also be substantially elevated in misdemeanor cases where defendants have prior convictions. With such serious penalties at stake, you need to do all you can to protect your freedom and future.
- Shortcomings of public defenders - When you forgo private defense, you only option may be to work with a public defender. While public defenders have admirable jobs defending the accused and protecting their rights, it is a fact of our criminal justice system that they are overburdened, underfunded, and more often than not newer lawyers just out of law school. As such, they lack the time and insight an effective defense can demand – and according to some studies, dedicate an average of only several minutes to cases prior to court. By working with private attorneys like those at Joey Gilbert Law, you work with legal professionals who have the time, resources, and experience your defense needs, as well as the availability to address your questions and concerns.
- You do not have to plead guilty – When charged with a crime, you do not have to resign yourself to pleading guilty. You are innocent until proven otherwise, and have every opportunity to challenge the government’s case against you. By pleading guilty without a lawyer, you have no defense against penalties and the consequences that accompany a criminal conviction. With a lawyer, you have the opportunity to provide evidence and arguments regarding your innocence, or pursue strategies to reduce charges, seek reduced penalties, and protect yourself from incarceration and other serious consequences.
Facing a misdemeanor allegation is nothing to take lightly. Take the steps to protect your rights, freedom, and future by working with experienced lawyers like those at Joey Gilbert Law. Led by Reno Criminal Defense Attorney Joey Gilbert, our legal team draws from decades of collective experience to protect clients’ rights at every stage of the process, and to fight for the best possible outcome. Our insight also enables us to handle a range of misdemeanor cases, including those involving prior convictions and aggravating circumstances, DUI of alcohol or drugs (including marijuana DUI), drug possession, shoplifting, and more. Contact us 24/7 for a FREE case review.