If you have been arrested for a misdemeanor offense, you may be thinking that this isn’t a big deal since felonies are more serious. Perhaps you are considering handling the legal matter on your own.
However, a crime is a crime. The criminal justice system can be quite complex, leaving you vulnerable to legal pitfalls. Whether you are facing a misdemeanor or a felony, it is imperative to seek legal counsel from a skilled criminal defense attorney.
The following are several reasons why you still need a lawyer when facing a misdemeanor charge:
- You could spend time behind bars – A conviction of a Class C misdemeanor–the lowest category of misdemeanors in Tennessee–is punishable by a maximum jail sentence of 30 days in jail. By contrast, a Class A misdemeanor–the highest category–conviction can result in a jail sentence of up to 11 months and 29 days. When there is a possibility you can serve jail time, you need an attorney to get your case dismissed or help you avoid spending time behind bars.
- You could receive a permanent criminal record – Not only does a conviction result in jail time and fines, but also a criminal record that could have a negative impact on your professional reputation and personal life, making it difficult to obtain employment, apply for college, rent a home, or take advantage of other opportunities in life. Even if you end up getting convicted, a lawyer can help you get your conviction expunged and make your record clean again.
- You have someone on your side who can protect your rights – Law enforcement and the prosecution may try to convince you that they’re looking out for your best interests. But the truth is the opposite. They’re actually collecting evidence against you in order to develop a strong case to prove you’re guilty. Your attorney can ensure you do not incriminate yourself or make any mistakes that can result in further legal trouble.
- You have someone who can appear in court on your behalf – It is possible that your lawyer may appear in court for you and even defend your case without your presence throughout every stage of the legal process. By contrast, a felony charge means you are required to appear in all stages (i.e. arraignment, preliminary hearing, trial, sentencing, etc.). This could be extremely helpful if you were arrested while you were in a different state on vacation or for work purposes.
- You cannot rely on public defenders – Although you have a right to retain counsel provided by the court, public defenders typically work with a massive caseload and do not have the disposable funds as a private attorney. In other words, they may not have the time or resources to help you obtain the best results possible.
If you have been charged with a misdemeanor in Tennessee, our Murfreesboro criminal defense attorney at The Clarke Law Firm is dedicated to protecting your rights and future. With more than a decade of experience and an excellent track record of success, you can trust our legal team to help you get back on the right track. Do not let a mistake have a negative impact on the rest of your life.
Contact us and schedule a consultation today to learn more about our experienced legal services.