Misdemeanor crimes generally are less severe than felony crimes and carry the potential for more lenient penalties. Nonetheless, a Misdemeanor conviction still creates a criminal record that can keep you from pursuing your goals, especially concerning your career. As a result, contacting a West Palm Beach Misdemeanor Lawyer may be in your best interests.
Building an effective defense strategy for criminal charges is vital to a positive outcome. Enlisting the help of one of our experienced criminal Attorneys at Leifert & Leifert who knows which defenses will be most likely to be successful in your case is critical. Rather than attempting to handle matters on your own, schedule a consultation to learn how you could defend your legal rights.
Types of Misdemeanors in West Palm Beach
Misdemeanor offenses constitute either first-degree or second-degree Misdemeanors under state law. First-degree Misdemeanors generally are more severe offenses than second-degree Misdemeanors, and therefore carry the potential for more considerable penalties. A conviction for a first-degree Misdemeanor can result in up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine, whereas a conviction for a second-degree Misdemeanor can result in up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine.
First-degree Misdemeanors may include criminal offenses such as:
- Disorderly conduct
- Resisting an officer without violence
Other first-degree Misdemeanors are marijuana possession, shoplifting, reckless driving, and prostitution. Some crimes only become first-degree Misdemeanors when the individuals have a previous record of the same or related offenses. In many cases, individuals may receive only a suspended sentence from a first-degree Misdemeanor conviction, especially if they have little or no criminal background.
On the other hand, second-degree Misdemeanor crimes can include simple assault, driving on a suspended license, petit theft, and loitering. Again, individuals often will not be required to serve jail time on a second-degree Misdemeanor conviction, depending on their records. A Misdemeanor Lawyer in West Palm Beach can be instrumental in negotiating a resolution that does not involve significant time spent in jail.
Other Penalties for Misdemeanor Convictions
Jail sentences and fines are not the only repercussions of a Misdemeanor conviction. A criminal background may be highly damaging for individuals seeking to enter specific professions or obtain some professional licenses. Therefore, those who commit a Misdemeanor offense as young adults may have a more challenging time getting accepted to a college or graduate school or finding employment.
Likewise, some Misdemeanor convictions result in other penalties, as well. For instance, a DUI or related offense typically will result in a license suspension. Jobs that require a valid driver’s license may not hire or continue to employ people who lose their licenses as a result of committing a crime.
A Misdemeanor domestic violence conviction also bars individuals from possessing or owning firearms, which can impact some career choices and eliminate the ability to hunt or protect family members. Similarly, convictions for battery may indicate a history of violence, and alcohol or drug-related convictions may show a history of substance abuse. Both these types of convictions can deter employers from considering these individuals for employment when these offenses appear on their background checks.
Alternatives to Misdemeanor Convictions
One possible alternative to a Misdemeanor conviction for qualified individuals may be to pursue a withhold of adjudication. This option allows a judge to order individuals to serve a term on probation without formally entering a conviction against them. If the individuals comply with the terms of probation, they receive no criminal conviction or further sentencing for the offense.
Typically, a withhold of adjudication is most widely available for individuals without a prior criminal history, but a judge can grant it to those with criminal histories, as well. People with little or no criminal background may also qualify for diversion programs in some jurisdictions. As a Misdemeanor Attorney in West Palm beach may advise, these programs permit individuals to complete specific requirements in exchange for the prosecutor dismissing the criminal charges against them.
A West Palm Beach Misdemeanor Attorney May Be Able to Help
A criminal history can adversely impact you when you are filling out applications for jobs, credit, or rentals. Avoiding a criminal conviction, even for a Misdemeanor offense, can be critical to your future success, both personally and professionally. A West Palm Beach Misdemeanor Lawyer at Leifert & Leifert may be able to protect your rights and help you avoid a criminal conviction.
Without legal representation, you may be giving up essential rights or missing out on some defenses. You also may not have the chance to seek a withhold of adjudication or participate in a diversion program. Legal counsel can discuss the full range of options that may be available to you when facing Misdemeanor criminal charges.