Criminal charges can be very complex. You may be facing jail or prison time. In all criminal proceedings you have constitutional rights that need to be protected. An experienced criminal defense attorney can spot violations of your constitutional rights and make sure that your rights are protected. Without the assistance of an attorney you may not even know if something was handled improperly in the investigation of your case.
One of the most important reasons to consult an attorney is to that we can inform you of the future consequences of conviction and how the charges will affect you in the future. If you are charged with any crime, no matter how minor, it is always a good idea to speak with a lawyer to evaluate your case. At Martin & Wagner, P.A., we provide free half-hour initial consultation for this very purpose.
You will likely have a Court date set or the option to pay a fine. In determining how your case will proceed, you need to know the level of offense for which you are charged.
Petty Misdemeanor; Misdemeanor; Gross Misdemeanor and Felony.
There are many variables to consider in knowing how your criminal case will be handled. First, it is important to know the level of the charge, meanings is it a petty misdemeanor, misdemeanor, gross misdemeanor or felony?
A petty misdemeanor carries a maximum penalty of $300. These are typically traffic offenses such as speed and/or minor infractions. These offenses while minor may affect your insurance premiums and/or your criminal record. While you can almost always pay of fine for a petty misdemeanor, you do have the right to go to Court and contest the charges or see if you can get them off of your records.
Misdemeanors carry a maximum penalty of 90 days in jail and a $1,000.00 fine. When charged with a misdemeanor, most times you are required to go to Court. Some misdemeanor offenses are “payable” meaning you can pay the fine in leiu of going to court. Use caution when faced with a payable misdemeanor as simply paying the fine results in a conviction and is treated as though you have pled guilty. A guilty plea to a misdemeanor charge will likely carry some sort of probation. It is important to talk with an attorney about all aspects of your misdemeanor charge. Some misdemeanors can carry with them very serious collateral consequences such as firearms bans and can negatively impact your ability to find employment or housing. Misdemeanor convictions can enhance what would normally be a misdemeanor to a gross misdemeanor or even a felony which could carry prison time.
Gross misdemeanors carry a maximum penalty of up to one year in jail and a $3,000.00 fine. If you are charged with a gross misdemeanor it is recommended that you seek legal advice right away to make sure that you are aware of your options. Many gross misdemeanors have mandatory jail sentences and probation. There are also very serious collateral consequences that flow from these types of charges. An experienced lawyer can help you determine the extent of the future ramifications of any gross misdemeanor charge.
A felony is any offense for which you could be subject to over one year imprisonment or commitment to the department of corrections or prison. Felony charges are very serious and need to be handled aggressively. If you are convicted of a felony you may lose many of your constitutionally protected civil rights including your right to vote, your right to own a firearm, and many others. If you are ever charged with a felony seeking legal advice is absolutely necessary.
Call Martin & Wagner Law, to help you understand why it's always best to be represented and what you can do to put your best foot forward in a criminal defense case. He understands the system and the ramifications of being charged with a crime. He will work aggressively, both in court and behind the scenes, to protect your rights, your reputation, and your freedom.
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