Louisiana law defines a misdemeanor as an offense that is not classified as a felony. Typically, this includes offenses that are punishable by only up to six months in jail. Domestic abuse, driving while intoxicated, and simple assault are just a few offenses that are often considered misdemeanors. It is a common misconception that you do not need a lawyer when charged with a misdemeanor. However, even though these offenses are not as serious as felonies, below are five reasons why you should still speak to a criminal defense lawyer in Ouachita Parish.
It is Your First Offense
You have a lot on the line if you have never been criminally charged or prosecuted before and have now had charges laid against you. If you are not successful with this case, you could end up with a criminal record that may follow you for the rest of your life. A criminal defense lawyer can advise on when a pretrial diversion/intervention program may be appropriate, and give you the best chance of avoiding a conviction.
You Already have a Criminal Record
If you already have a criminal record, you will face harsher penalties if you are convicted of a misdemeanor offense. Prior convictions will always impact the amount of time you may be sentenced to serve in jail, and the court may not look favorably upon you. A lawyer will create the strong defense you need to help you avoid further jail time and high fines associated with previous convictions.
A Lawyer Can Appear on Your Behalf
If you do not live in Louisiana, have irregular work hours, or there is another reason you cannot appear yourself in court, an attorney can appear on your behalf in most misdemeanor cases. A lawyer will work hard to ensure your life is interrupted as little as possible and advise on the hearings and circumstances in which you are not required to appear. If you do not work with a lawyer, you have to attend every hearing.
You are Going to Plead Guilty
You may think you do not need to work with a lawyer, particularly if you are going to plead guilty anyway. However, a lawyer can still help. A lawyer can negotiate a plea deal with the prosecution so any time you serve is reduced. A lawyer will also ensure your rights are still upheld. Most importantly, an experienced criminal defense lawyer may see defenses in your case that you weren’t even aware of before hiring a lawyer.
You are Going to Plead Not Guilty
If you have been accused of a crime you did not commit, it is vital to work with a lawyer who can defend your case. You will need to make arguments, raise meaningful objections, and make sure that the prosecutor follows the rules of evidence and criminal procedure at trial. A criminal defense lawyer will know how to do this and will give you the best chance of retaining your freedom.
Our Criminal Defense Lawyer in Ouachita Can Help You Beat Your Charges
You may think you do not need a Monroe criminal defense lawyer when charged with a misdemeanor, but you should if you value your freedom. At Whiddon Criminal Defense, our skilled attorney has the necessary experience to advise on your case, determine which defense strategy is best, and give you the best chance of beating the charges. Call us today at 318-594-3592 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.