Misdemeanors are criminal charges that categorized as less serious than felony charges, with lesser penalties and lower fines. For this reason, many people choose to forego hiring a defense lawyer and take their chances. However, there are many reasons this is inadvisable. Hiring a defense lawyer for a Miami misdemeanor can often help to significantly reduce the lasting consequences of a permanent criminal record.
Our goal as your lawyer is to work toward a resolution that is going to leave you with as few longstanding ramifications as possible. What we will first do is look for any way to have the charges dismissed outright. If that isn’t likely, our strategy is to minimize the damage, possibly negotiating a plea to lesser charges and arguing for the minimum incarceration and fines.
Examples of misdemeanor crimes in Florida include:
- Solicitation for prostitution.
- Disorderly conduct.
- Reckless driving.
- Criminal mischief.
- Simple battery.
- Underage possession of alcohol.
What many people don’t understand is that just because a charge is a misdemeanor doesn’t mean a conviction will have a minor impact on your life. Never assume that this will be a “slap on the wrist” that you can easily move past.
Some consequences of Florida misdemeanors include:
- A misdemeanor goes on your permanent criminal record. That can impact future opportunities in employment, housing, education and even relationships. Unless it is sealed or expunged (which can only be done under a slim set of circumstances), it will be forever visible for anyone to look up.
- Jail time for a misdemeanor can be up to one year. You could spend months in county jail for seemingly minor offenses. For example, trespassing when there is someone else present in the car or building is a first-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail. Are you likely to serve that much time? It depends on numerous factors, such as your prior criminal record and the circumstances of the event, but when you’re facing the possibility of up to 12 months in jail, it’s best not to leave that to chance if you can help it.
- Fines can be hefty. You may face up to $1,000 in fines for misdemeanor crimes – for each count. One way or another, a misdemeanor case is probably going to cost you. You’re better off paying for an attorney who will be working for you to avoid the most adverse outcomes.
- Probation can have stringent terms. You might think of probation as a minor inconvenience, but the reality is, the terms can be stringent. It may include things like abstaining from any alcohol or drug use or prohibitions on driving or going to certain locations. You’ll be expected to regularly check in with a probation officer – on their terms, not yours. If you fail to follow each of the terms to the letter, you may find yourself in a jail cell. Our defense lawyers will advocate for reasonable terms of probation, if we’re not able to help you avoid it altogether.
If you have been arrested for a misdemeanor in Miami, our criminal defense lawyers can help.
Call Fort Lauderdale Criminal Defense Attorney Richard Ansara at (954) 761-4011. Serving Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties.
F.S. 775.081, Classification of Felonies and Misdemeanors, Florida Statute