If you or a loved one is facing a misdemeanor charge, our attorneys are here to defend you.
Misdemeanor charges may seem relatively harmless at first. While it’s definitely true that misdemeanors are less severe than felonies, they are not just infractions, and these charges should take them seriously. That’s why you need an attorney that’s experienced with handling misdemeanor defenses.
Unlike felony charges, misdemeanor charges carry a conviction of only a year or less in jail. Nonetheless, having a misdemeanor charge on your permanent record can hurt your chance at gaining gainful employment.
Depending on the crime, you may serve up to a year in jail, which can negatively impact your job and family life. The best thing you can do after being charged with a misdemeanor is to hire an experienced criminal defense lawyer who will represent your best interests.
While misdemeanor charges are not as serious as felonies, they are more serious than simple infractions, such as traffic tickets. Just because law enforcement officers didn’t take you into custody, doesn’t mean that you only received an infraction. While misdemeanor charges do not always carry serious jail time, they can carry a fine of not more than $1000.
Additionally, you may need to serve up to twelve months in a correctional institution or county jail after being convicted. Judges have significant discretion when it comes to misdemeanors. They have the right to impose a misdemeanor sentence but suspend the sentence by allowing a defendant not to serve some or all of the sentence.
Judges can also impose a jail sentence, while giving the defendant the option to complete formal supervision, or probation, instead of serving time in jail. Both probation and suspended sentences are conditioned on the defendant agreeing to follow the restrictions or conditions imposed by the judges. Convicted defendants can also lose their right to possess a firearm or their driving privileges.
Some misdemeanors carry higher penalties. For example, the penalty for a simple battery is less than a year of jail time. However, when the victim of battery is a person age 65 or over, or a family member, courts can impose an enhanced sentence. This enhanced sentence carries a fine of up to $5,000 and a jail sentence of up to 12 years. Judges also have the discretion to suspend the sentences or place them on probation due to a conviction of an enhanced misdemeanor.
There are many different types of misdemeanor charges under Georgia law, but some are more commonly charged than others. At Banks, Stubbs & McFarland LLP, we’ve helped many clients succeed in fighting misdemeanor charges in North Georgia. We frequently represent clients who are charged with the following Georgia misdemeanors:
An expungement of your misdemeanor charges can help tremendously. For example, an expungement can provide you with a chance at gainful employment. Keep in mind that courts are not required to expunge your misdemeanor conviction from your record. Instead, the expungement process happens at the discretion of the prosecuting attorney.
In many cases, defendants plead “nolo contendre.” This means that they do not want to contest the charges brought against them, and it has the same impact as a guilty plea. Courts will not expunge a guilty plea from your record, but Georgia courts will often expunge your record in the following two circumstances:
If you would like your misdemeanor charges expunged from your record, we can help. Contact Banks, Stubbs & McFarland LLP today. We will review your record and advise you of your legal options when it comes to expungement.
At Banks, Stubbs & McFarland LLP, our criminal defense attorneys have successfully represented many clients in DUI misdemeanor charges. Under Georgia law, most first-time driving while under the influence (DUI)& charges are considered misdemeanors. Most defendants face the following penalties for misdemeanor DUI charges in Georgia:
As with other crimes in Georgia, the circumstances of the crime will determine whether prosecutors charge the defendant with a misdemeanor or felony. For example, if you face your fourth DUI charge in 10 years, prosecutors will charge you with a felony when all of the arrest dates are after July 1, 2008. Additionally, when someone is injured, defendants will face felony charges.
Under Georgia law, marijuana is still considered a controlled substance. Defendants found with one ounce or less of marijuana in their possession face a $1,000 fine or up to a year jail sentence. Defenses to misdemeanor charges vary based on the circumstances of the case. One of the most popular defenses is to contend that you were not in possession of marijuana.
Perhaps a friend placed it in your backpack or motor vehicle without your knowledge. Additionally, law enforcement officers cannot violate a suspect’s constitutional rights. When law enforcement officers engage in illegal searches and seizures, defendants can ask the court to throw out any evidence gained from unlawful searches and seizures.
If you’ve been charged with a misdemeanor, you should speak to an experienced criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. At Banks, Stubbs & McFarland LLP, we have a proven track record of successful results in criminal defense. Contact our law firm as soon as possible to schedule your initial consultation.
We are located in Suwanee Georgia, but we defend clients throughout Gwinnett County, Forsyth County, Hall County, Barrow County, Jackson County, and Dawson County. Contact our Atlanta law firm as soon as possible to learn how we advocate for your best interests.