Tallahassee Misdemeanors Attorney
If you have never been arrested or faced a criminal trial before, the prospect of even a misdemeanor conviction may be scary. Indeed, you may not even be completely clear about what a “misdemeanor” is and how it differs from a felony. Can you go to jail for a misdemeanor? Will you have a permanent criminal record? How can you fight a misdemeanor charge?
At Luke Newman, P.A., our Tallahassee misdemeanors attorney can help answer your questions and provide you with a first-rate criminal defense against a wide range of misdemeanor charges. We understand that a misdemeanor conviction can have a serious impact on your life and livelihood. That is why we represent clients throughout Tallahassee who are determined to fight for their rights and have their day in court.
What Are Misdemeanors?
Criminal offenses are broadly divided into two categories: Felonies and misdemeanors. The main difference between the two is the maximum amount of jail time that is possible upon conviction. The most serious misdemeanor offense carries up to 1 year in jail. The punishment range for a felony, in contrast, usually starts at a year and go as high as life in prison (or even the death penalty in certain cases).
Misdemeanors are therefore used to punish crimes that are considered less severe than felonies by the legislature. But not all misdemeanors are the same. Florida further sub-categorizes its misdemeanors into first- and second-degree offenses. First-degree misdemeanors are the more serious of the two and carry a maximum punishment of 1 year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. Second-degree misdemeanors only carry a maximum penalty of 60 days in jail and a $500 fine.
Some of the more common misdemeanors we assist clients with include:
- Simple assault and battery
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance
- Driving with a suspended license
- Reckless driving
- Leaving the scene of a car accident (i.e., hit and run)
- Disorderly conduct
- Shoplifting and petit theft
- Possession of marijuana for personal use (less than 20 grams)
- Unlawful discharge of a firearm
- Resisting arrest
- Violation of certain municipal ordinances
How Can I Fight a Misdemeanor Charge?
As with any criminal case, you have a right to contest a misdemeanor charge in court. The burden is always on the prosecution to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Of course, depending on the facts of your case, you may elect to negotiate a plea bargain with the prosecution. But if you decide to plead not guilty, you have every right to a trial of your guilt or innocence.
In first-degree misdemeanor cases you further have a right to a trial by jury. Second-degree misdemeanors, however, may be tried by a judge sitting without a jury in certain situations. This is just one area where an experienced lawyer can advise you of your rights and assist you in devising a trial strategy.
So if you are facing any sort of misdemeanor charge and need representation, contact the offices of Luke Newman, P.A., today to schedule an initial consultation.