A misdemeanor is more serious than an infraction yet less serious than a felony. Although generally accompanied by fines, the maximum punishment for a misdemeanor charge is one year in county jail. Some common examples of misdemeanors include: petty theft, prostitution, public intoxication, driving under the influence, simple assault, disorderly conduct, trespass, and vandalism.
Most misdemeanor cases permit the defendant’s attorney to appear on the defendant’s behalf. If permitted, the defendant is not required to accompany the attorney to court, which is quite helpful for defendants who cannot miss work or school to attend court.
If the defendant is in custody, they will have access to bail, which is set forth in the county bail schedule.
The pretrial conference occurs after the arraignment and provides the defense attorney an opportunity to negotiate a plea offer or convince the prosecutor to drop the charges completely. During the pretrial conference, the defense lawyer may discuss the weaknesses and flaws in the prosecution’s case, which could result in the prosecutor dropping the case entirely. In addition, an attorney will introduce mitigating factors in the hope that doing so will prompt the prosecutor to make a more lenient offer. Mitigating factors may include the defendant’s providing restitution to the victim, attending counseling sessions, or obtaining awards or accolades for work.
SPEEDY TRIAL RIGHTS
If the defendant is charged and not in custody at the time of arraignment, they have a right to trial within 45 days of the arraignment date. If the defendant is charged and in custody at the time of arraignment, they have a right to trial within 30 days of the arraignment date. The right to a speedy trial can be waived to grant the defense counsel sufficient time to prepare for the case.
THE VALUE OF GOOD REPRESENTATION
A conviction for a misdemeanor becomes part of your criminal record, which can have a serious impact on all aspects of your life. For example, the court can consider your prior conviction and impose a harsher sentence if you are convicted of a crime in a new case. Not to mention, a criminal record, even a misdemeanor conviction, can hurt you when you are looking for a job or applying to rent a house or apartment.
Only someone familiar with the local criminal court system and cases like yours will know how good your chances are for a favorable outcome in court or at the negotiating table. A knowledgeable attorney will take all of this into consideration, assist you in making decisions about your case, and protect your rights.
The attorney at the Law Office of Brett Parker Davison has extensive knowledge of the system and can begin building a strategy for your defense immediately. We highly encourage you to contact us to schedule a free consultation of your case at (909) 480-8094!