Criminal offenses are grouped into two categories: misdemeanors and felonies. A misdemeanor is considered a lesser offense, such as DUI or shoplifting, while a felony is a more serious crime like homicide or sexual assault.
Although felonies receive a significant amount of attention for their serious nature and penalties, misdemeanors are in every way a serious allegation with the possibility to result in negative consequences in both the short-term and long-term. Additionally, having a misdemeanor on your criminal record can still make it difficult to find a job, obtain a place to live, apply for a loan, or even attend college.
Do you need a lawyer for a misdemeanor?
In short, the answer is "yes." If you or a loved one has been charged with a misdemeanor, it is important to understand the gravity of the situation and take the proper steps to protect your rights and future. Having a proven criminal defense attorney on your side can help get you the most favorable results possible.
There are several reasons why you still need a lawyer for a misdemeanor case:
- Misdemeanor convictions are punishable by serious penalties – Unless otherwise allowed by law, anyone convicted of a misdemeanor offense in Oklahoma faces a maximum sentence of up to one year in jail or $500 in fines. Courts are able to impose jail sentences, fines, or even both. Furthermore, some misdemeanors also have additional consequences, including probation, driver’s license suspensions (DUI), community service, and even the loss of civil rights, such as losing the ability to purchase a firearm.
- You do not have to plead guilty – Remember, you are innocent until proven guilty, and have every opportunity to challenge the government’s case against you. If you decide to plead guilty without an attorney by your side, you have no defense against conviction, which may result in the maximum penalties being held against you. With a lawyer, on the other hand, he or she can pursue defense strategies to either reduce your charges, reduce the penalties against you, or even get your entire case dismissed.
- Public defenders can only do so much – If you decide not to hire an attorney, you can opt to work with a public defender. However, public defenders often have a huge caseload and are underfunded, which means they do not have the time or resources to develop an effective and personalized defense for your case.
At the Law Offices of Keith J. Nedwick, P.C., you will have multiple lawyers working on your case for the price of just one. With more than 70 years of combined experience, our Norman and Oklahoma City attorneys can guide you through the complexities of your case and help you get the results you deserve.
For more information, contact us and request a free meeting today.