When you are arrested or issued a summons on a misdemeanor charge, you must take the situation seriously. Although a conviction on a misdemeanor will not land you in state prison, you could serve up to six months in the local jail for a misdemeanor conviction. A mark on your criminal record can also impact your life in various ways.
Let a Gilbert misdemeanor lawyer at Grand Canyon Law Group handle your case the right way. Our former prosecutors, now dedicated defense attorneys, will listen to your story and work to protect your way of life.
Sometimes, people feel that a misdemeanor charge is no big deal. Some people charged with misdemeanors decide to handle their cases without professional help or use a public defender.
However, this can be a costly mistake. A misdemeanor is a crime with potentially serious consequences, and a conviction or guilty plea produces a criminal record that will appear on background checks. Someone with a criminal record could be denied opportunities in employment, housing, or credit. A criminal record could also endanger professional licenses.
Our Gilbert attorneys understand the potentially dire consequences of a misdemeanor conviction. We will do everything possible to get the charge dismissed or reduced to an infraction that does not produce a criminal record. Our legal team could also negotiate a favorable sentence and preserve the defendant’s right to have the conviction set aside in the future.
Misdemeanors typically do not involve severe physical harm to others or significant property loss. Arizona recognizes three levels of severity for misdemeanor offenses. Regardless of the level of misdemeanor, it is best to consult a knowledgeable attorney in the area on an effective defense strategy.
Class 3 is the least serious and includes third-degree criminal trespass, loitering, and criminal mischief. Class 2 misdemeanors include verbal assault, public nuisance, some domestic violence crimes, and contempt of court. Class 1 misdemeanors are the most serious and include shoplifting and theft of items valued at less than $1000, assault, disorderly conduct, possessing drug paraphernalia, and resisting arrest.
Some traffic offenses are charged as misdemeanor crimes. Examples of Class 3 traffic-related misdemeanors include leaving the scene of an accident with a parked car and driving at excessive speed. Charges for reckless driving, hit and run, and DUI are Class 2 misdemeanors. Aggressive driving, driving with a suspended license, and some DUIs are Class 1 misdemeanors.
Judges have considerable discretion when sentencing people on misdemeanor charges, but Arizona Revised Statutes §13-707 allows a judge to impose jail time for all misdemeanors. The maximum misdemeanor sentences are:
The financial penalties could be higher than the listed fines, as many crimes require an offender to pay various assessments in addition to criminal fines.
Although all misdemeanors carry potential jail sentences, our savvy lawyers in Gilbert could negotiate with the prosecutor for a resolution that avoids jail time. These deals are often possible if the defendant has no criminal record.
Our Gilbert attorneys will always try to get charges dismissed by finding weaknesses in the prosecution’s evidence, investigating procedural errors, or asserting judicial economy and fairness. However, defendants may also consider entering a diversion program.
Maricopa County has multiple diversion programs available for different offenses. Special programs exist for various drug crimes, domestic violence, animal abuse, and parenting issues. There are also programs targeted to specific populations, such as veterans, people experiencing homelessness, and people with developmental disabilities or mental health challenges.
When an untreated addiction or a behavioral or social issue leads to crime, addressing the cause is often more effective than punishing the behavior. Completing a diversion program usually leads to the prosecutor dismissing the charges. Most importantly, the participant leaves the program with life skills that could help them avoid criminal charges in the future. The knowledgeable misdemeanor lawyers can further explain the options for diversion programs in Gilbert during a consultation.
Although misdemeanors carry less severe penalties than felonies, these are still criminal allegations that can seriously impact your future. Judges can impose significant jail time for a misdemeanor conviction. A stain on your record can limit your opportunities and prevent you from moving forward with your life after a conviction.
Work with a Gilbert misdemeanor lawyer to give yourself the best chance of a favorable outcome. Call Grand Canyon Law Group today to learn how we can fight for you and your rights.