Citrus Park Misdemeanor Lawyer
The law categorizes crimes as either misdemeanors or felonies. Of the two, misdemeanors are less serious, but even a misdemeanor could lead to time in jail. In addition, prior misdemeanor convictions can lead to more severe consequences if you face a criminal charge in the future.
If you face misdemeanor charges, do not try to resolve the matter yourself. A misdemeanor conviction could lead to incarceration, and a stain on your record could negatively impact your future. Let a skilled attorney at Grand Canyon Law Group handle your case the right way and fight to protect your rights. Call a Citrus Park misdemeanor lawyer if you have been charged with an offense.
Process for Handling Misdemeanor Crimes
The police might issue a summons to someone they suspect of a misdemeanor or arrest them and hold them in custody. A person detained will make an initial appearance before a judge who sets bail, establishes release conditions, and schedules an arraignment. Someone who received a summons makes their first court appearance at the arraignment.
The defendant enters their plea to the charges at the arraignment. A Citrus Park attorney would advise a not-guilty plea in most cases. After the arraignment, the defense and prosecutor meet to discuss the evidence and try to resolve the charges without a trial. Depending on the case, the defense might file motions raising Constitutional issues, seeking to exclude evidence, or asking for dismissal of charges during this phase.
Many misdemeanor cases resolve without a trial. Sometimes, prosecutors agree to a plea to a lesser charge, or the defendant agrees to a plea with a favorable sentence. If the prosecutor’s case is weak, going to trial could be the best option and might result in an acquittal. Our Citrus Park attorneys can advise on the best strategy in a misdemeanor case.
Classification of Misdemeanor Crimes in Citrus Park
Although misdemeanor crimes are less serious than felonies, the penalties can be significant. In addition to jail time, fines, and probation, misdemeanor charges could lead to other penalties. Depending on the crime, sentences for people facing misdemeanor charges could include the following:
- Restitution orders
- Classes in defensive driving, anger management, parenting skills, or others as appropriate
- Drivers’ license suspension
- Ignition interlock installation
- Community service
- Substance abuse treatment
- Home confinement
Arizona divides misdemeanors into three categories, each with different potential punishments.
Class 3 Misdemeanor
Class 3 misdemeanors are the least serious. Depending on the circumstances, penalties could range from no jail time to 30 days, a maximum fine of $500, and one year of probation.
Class 2 Misdemeanor
Most misdemeanors are classified as Class 2. The potential jail sentence ranges from no jail time to four months in jail, a fine of up to $750, and two years of probation.
Class 1 Misdemeanor
The most serious misdemeanors are Class 1. Convictions could lead to up to six months in jail, a fine of up to $2500, and three years of probation. Regardless of what type of misdemeanor a person faces, they should work with nearby legal counsel to understand the potential penalties and build a strong defense.
Impact of Prior Convictions in Misdemeanor Cases
Arizona Statute §13-707B imposes more severe sentences on people with prior convictions for similar crimes. Anyone convicted of a misdemeanor with previous convictions within the preceding two years will be sentenced as if they committed a crime of the next level of severity. For example, someone convicted of a Class 3 misdemeanor with prior convictions would be sentenced as if they committed a Class 2 misdemeanor.
In some circumstances, additional or harsher punishment applies when someone commits specific crimes. For example, Arizona Statute §13-821 outlines increased fines if someone convicted of certain drug offenses has prior convictions. The law allows an offender to reduce their fine by completing a drug rehabilitation program.
DUI convictions carry a mandatory jail sentence of at least ten days, a mandatory fine of at least $250, and other financial penalties. Harsher sentences apply if a person has prior DUI convictions for the past 36 months. The Citrus Park attorneys at Grand Canyon Law Group can further explain the sentencing guidelines for misdemeanors based on a person’s criminal history.
Contact a Citrus Park Attorney if You Face Misdemeanor Charges
Misdemeanor convictions lead to significant consequences. Even if you avoid jail, you will have a criminal record that could impact your future opportunities for education, employment, housing, and credit. In these situations, do not take any chances with your case.
You need experienced legal counsel to effectively resolve your charges and move forward with your life. Contact a Citrus Park misdemeanor lawyer today to discuss your situation. At Grand Canyon Law Group, we are here to listen to your story and represent your best interests.