After being arrested for a misdemeanor criminal offense, some thoughts which come to mind might include, “It’s only a misdemeanor, so it’s not that serious. I can handle the charges on my own, I don’t need a lawyer.” Since misdemeanors are not as serious as felonies, many people consider such crimes as merely minor in nature.
However, there is no such thing as a minor criminal offense. Whether you are charged with a felony or a misdemeanor, a conviction can result in long-term, negative consequences. Although you may think twice about hiring a private criminal defense attorney due to the costs, doing so for a misdemeanor charge is often worth it in the end.
The following are several reasons why you still need to hire a lawyer when facing a misdemeanor:
- You are subject to serious penalties – According to Texas law, a Class A misdemeanor—which is the highest form of misdemeanors—is punishable by a county jail sentence of up to one year and a maximum fine of $4,000. By contrast, a Class C misdemeanor—the lowest form—results in a fine of up to $500. An attorney can assess your case, determine all of your legal options, and help you either get your entire case dismissed or your penalties reduced. Without one to guide you through the complexities of the criminal justice system, you may have to serve the maximum penalties if found guilty.
- You may have a permanent criminal record – In addition to the penalties associated with the conviction, there are several other collateral consequences if the jury/judge finds you guilty. The most significant fallout is having a conviction on your permanent criminal record, which can ruin your professional and personal life by making it difficult to obtain employment, apply for college/university, find housing, and more. Even an arrest can stay on your criminal record. A lawyer can help you avoid conviction or get your record expunged so you don’t have to admit to being convicted of a crime.
- You don’t have to plead guilty – Just because you have been arrested, doesn’t mean you are automatically guilty. By pleading guilty without the help of a lawyer, you won’t have the opportunity to challenge the charges against you, which means the prosecution and judge have the full discretion of pursuing the maximum penalties. An attorney investigates your arrest, collect evidence, and develop a strong defense strategy to get the best outcome possible.
- You don’t have to rely on a public defender – While public defenders do a good job protecting the rights of the accused on behalf of the court, these professionals have to deal with heavy caseloads without the proper resources to provide an individualized and comprehensive defense. By working with a private lawyer, you will be given the time, funding, and experience necessary for your case.
At The Law Office of Rene A. Flores PLLC, our Hidalgo County criminal defense lawyer has over a decade of experience helping our clients get the most favorable results. When you hire our firm, we can protect your rights, reputation, and future throughout the legal process.
If you have been arrested for a misdemeanor crime in Texas, contact us and schedule a free consultation today. We offer bilingual client service for English and Spanish speakers.