We know what you’re thinking: it is just a misdemeanor. How serious can it be? Do I even need an attorney?
If these thoughts are running through your mind, it is important to remember that there is no such thing as a small crime. Any criminal charge, including misdemeanors, can have severe, long-lasting consequences. Although it may seem like a costly decision, retaining legal representation from a lawyer for your misdemeanor charge is often worth it in the end.
The following are several reasons why you should hire an attorney for your misdemeanor:
- Avoid jail time – In California, a standard misdemeanor is punishable by up to six months in jail. An aggravated or gross misdemeanor can result in a maximum jail sentence of one year. Unless you want to spend time behind bars, a criminal defense attorney can help you get your entire case dismissed. Even if you believe you are guilty, a lawyer can get your charges significantly reduced so you don’t have to serve any time.
- Avoid a criminal record – Having a misdemeanor on your permanent criminal record can prevent you from getting a job, applying to certain colleges, and seriously damage your reputation. A skilled criminal defense lawyer can help you avoid having a criminal record.
- Protect your rights – Throughout the criminal justice process, an attorney can help protect your rights and best interests throughout every step. They can help you invoke your right to remain silent or your Fourth Amendment protections against unlawful search and seizure.
- Appear in court for you – A judge could issue an arrest warrant if you miss your court date, resulting in even more penalties. If you have a lawyer, he/she can appear in court on your behalf.
- Experience in the legal system – An experienced lawyer can help you navigate through the complexities of the criminal justice system. He/she understands the law, the practices and procedures, and both the judges and prosecutors in your jurisdiction.
- A public defender can only do so much – You have the right to counsel to represent you in a criminal case in the form of a public defender. However, public defenders have a large caseload and may not have enough time to provide the representation you need to get the best results you want.
So no matter how serious the crime you have been accused of may seem to be, you need a knowledgeable and skilled lawyer on your side. At Hanson, Gorian, Bradford & Hanich, our Riverside County criminal defense attorney can thoroughly review your case, figure out all of your available legal options, gather evidence, and develop an effective defense strategy to get your life back on track. We can put our expertise and years of experience to work for you.