Summers are supposed to be filled with fun. Unfortunately, too much fun and you could end up facing misdemeanor charges. Many people wrongly believe that misdemeanor charges aren't anything to worry about. However, that's not actually true. Misdemeanor charges can lead to convictions, which can lead to monetary fines and even jail time. The last thing you want to do is spend your summer in jail, which is why you need to take a misdemeanor charge seriously. If you've been arrested and charged with a misdemeanor, here are three steps you should take to help you avoid serious trouble.
Understand the Charges
When it comes to misdemeanor charges, it can be easy to assume that they're all the same. However, there are actually three different types of misdemeanor charges. It's important for you to understand the charges against you, and the type of misdemeanor you're being charged with.
Misdemeanors fall into three categories – one, two, and three. Class 3 misdemeanors are the least serious of the three. Each class comes with it's own specific fines, penalties, and jail time. Understanding the misdemeanor you're being charged with will help you proceed through the case.
Avoid a Guilty Plea
When you're initially arrested, you'll be required to go to court. During the first appearance, you'll be provided the opportunity to enter a plea – guilty or not guilty. It's important that you avoid entering a guilty plea, especially at that first court appearance. Entering a guilty plea can make it difficult for you to negotiate later on.
Once you've entered a not guilty plea, you'll want to try and negotiate the charges down, which is crucial if you've been charged with a class 1 misdemeanor. Negotiating your charges down will help you avoid jail time, and it may reduce the amount of time you're on probation.
It's important to note that negotiation is important even if you've been charged with the lesser misdemeanor. Negotiating your class 1 misdemeanor could help you get the charges dropped altogether.
Hire an Attorney
When it comes to being charged with a misdemeanor, it's crucial that you know when to hire an attorney. You may think that you don't need one, but that might not be the case. If you're looking at mandatory jail time, or you can't afford to have a misdemeanor conviction on your record, you're going to need an attorney. It's the only way to ensure that you avoid mistakes that could jeopardize your future.
For more information, reach out to a professional like the Law Offices of Lynda Latta, LLC.