There are three general types of crimes that are prosecuted by a government law enforcement agency. Most people are familiar with infractions. These are small issues that are dealt with most often with tickets. For example, a parking violation is considered an infraction and often settled by the payment of a fine issued in the form of a parking ticket. On the other hand, a serious crime is defined as a felony and can have serious penalties, such as a number of years in prison. Murder and drug crimes are often punished as felonies. However, in between these areas is the misdemeanor, which is a crime but not necessarily on the scale or severity of a felony.
The court can deal with a misdemeanor on the most liberal side as a fine and community service and on the most conservative side as a fine penalty as well as time in jail. Usually, incarceration time is from six months to a year in county jail in the most severe cases, depending on the law that defines the misdemeanor.
People often think of misdemeanors as non-serious matters, and they are frequently shocked and surprised when the justice system ends up serving a sentence of jail time as well as thousands of dollars in penalties, in addition to court fees. Further, some misdemeanors, depending on how a law was written in a given state, can be wobblers where the court can decide to treat them as felonies if they find reason to do so.
If you or someone you care for is charged with a misdemeanor, it is important to obtain qualified, professional legal representation right away. Do not make the mistake of thinking these types of cases are not a serious matter. The only reason the court is not dealing with them in a more serious matter is usually because the law defining the misdemeanor limits the court from making the punishment worse. Additionally, a misdemeanor conviction is still a serious matter and can be a long-term mark on a person’s legal record, causing problems in securing future work or financial opportunities. Instead, these charges should be proactively responded to and defended against in court to reduce them or eliminate the charges where possible.
For those in the Tempe and Maricopa County, AZ region, the Arizona Legal Practice Group can provide vigorous representation in court for a criminal defense. Our firm has a significant depth of experience and practice in cases involving DUIs, drug charges, abuse and assault charges, reckless driving, theft, and even shoplifting. Don’t try to fight the system alone and don’t underestimate the damage of a misdemeanor. Call the Arizona Legal Practice Group today for a consultation.