Misdemeanor Defense Lawyer in Lakeland — Helping Our Clients Avoid Jail and Maintain a Clean Record

When someone is accused of a crime, the charges against them are categorized as either a felony or misdemeanor. Felonies are always considered more serious, and their potential penalties can range up to life imprisonment. However, misdemeanor convictions can be serious as well. Any criminal charge can lead to jail time, extreme fines, the loss of driving privileges, and an array of other penalties. This is why you should have a misdemeanor defense lawyer in Lakeland on your side if you’re facing charges.

At DeMichael Law, our legal practice is dedicated to helping our clients secure favorable outcomes. In some instances, this means having charges dismissed entirely. Of course, this isn’t always possible. In some situations, we may be able to help work out a plea deal — perhaps convincing the prosecutor to utilize diversion programs rather than jail time. We can also represent you at trial if doing so is in your best interest. The legal options available to you will depend upon the circumstances of your case. Contact us today to learn more.

Is a Misdemeanor Conviction Really That Serious?

People downplay misdemeanor cases all the time. While these charges can land a person in jail for a year, it’s often the case that a person will get probation, community service, and other alternatives to imprisonment. However, this isn’t always the case. If you’re convicted of a crime, a judge has extreme discretion over your sentence. There’s no way to predict with complete accuracy how sentencing will go. Of course, most people avoid this possibility altogether by agreeing to a plea deal.

Even if you take this route and avoid the more serious consequences, a misdemeanor conviction can still upend your life. For instance, many employers fire workers who are convicted of any crime. Additionally, you’ll have a criminal record that will follow you for a lifetime. This record is typically public, so there’s no telling how many opportunities you’ll miss, thanks to a conviction. No matter how much a prosecutor or others may try to downplay these charges, the consequences are real and serious.

Contact a misdemeanor defense attorney in Lakeland today to learn more about your options.

What Are Potential Sentences for a Misdemeanor Conviction?

When people contemplate plea deals in misdemeanor cases, their primary consideration is potential sentencing. After all, accepting a plea deal for probation and fines likely sounds like a good deal compared to a year behind bars. This is why it’s so important for individuals charged with crimes to understand possible penalties in Florida misdemeanor cases.

The most serious crimes in this category are known as first-degree misdemeanors. Being convicted of these charges can result in a year of imprisonment, a $1,000 fine, and a year of probation. Some people are also forced to pay restitution and can even have their licenses suspended. Clearly, these are serious penalties that require an experienced criminal defense lawyer.

If you’re charged with a second-degree misdemeanor, you could face 60 days in jail, six months probation, and have to pay a fine of $500. While this may seem lenient compared to first-degree or felony charges, imagine what two months of incarceration might do to your life. More importantly, keep in mind that multiple charges can be sentenced consecutively. This means even misdemeanor cases can result in imprisonment exceeding a year.

Do You Really Need a Criminal Defense Lawyer?

If you’re charged with a misdemeanor, you’re likely wondering whether you need a criminal defense lawyer. While potential consequences can be serious, there’s a good chance that you can get off with no jail time. This is particularly true if you have a clean record or the crime isn’t considered serious. Many people believe they’ll be just fine by accepting a plea deal, and some feel as if they can represent themselves because they’re innocent.

Unfortunately, innocence does not always lead to having charges dismissed or a not-guilty verdict. Estimates state that up to 6% of individuals currently behind bars are actually innocent. This is a terrifying reality, and it’s often what leads people to accept plea deals. However, you don’t have to go this route. Having a criminal defense attorney on your side can prove invaluable.

While it’s not always possible to avoid a misdemeanor conviction, working with a legal professional is still typically in your best interest. They can help you understand your options, get you into diversion programs, work to minimize your sentence and identify other alternatives. And in many cases, it’s also possible to spot potential constitutional issues, cast doubt on the state’s case, and fight to avoid a criminal record.

Does the Criminal Justice System Allow Conviction Expungement?

With a Lakeland misdemeanor defense attorney on your side, you can fight back against criminal charges. However, perhaps you didn’t seek legal counsel and now have a blemish on your record. There’s also the chance that a conviction was unavoidable based on the evidence. In such cases, you may be wondering if you can have your criminal record sealed or expunged. Doing so could open up employment opportunities, housing options, and much more.

Unfortunately, the process of sealing and expunging records in Florida is difficult. Even hiring the best criminal defense lawyer might not change this. The rules for these processes are very strict, and the simple fact is that not everyone will qualify. Still, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t look into the process. Speak with an attorney today to learn your options.

If you’ve got a current case before the state, though, remember that avoiding a conviction in the first place is always the best option. Contact our misdemeanor defense lawyer at DeMichael Law today.

Contact a Misdemeanor Defense Lawyer in Lakeland Today

When you’re facing misdemeanor charges, the prosecutor may downplay the seriousness of your situation. They might tell you that you can walk away with nothing more than probation and a few fines. And while this might sound preferable over jail time, it’s important to remember that the district attorney is not focused on your best interest. While a plea deal may be the best strategy, you should let a Florida criminal defense lawyer help you make this decision.

At DeMichael Law, we’ve spent years helping clients get charges reduced or thrown out entirely. We understand how the system works, and we know the repercussions of a conviction extend far beyond the criminal justice world. You could lose your job, experience difficulty going to college, have your driving privileges revoked, miss housing opportunities, and even encounter difficulty in your dating life thanks to a public record. Don’t let this happen to you. Contact us today by calling (863) 216-1831.

Sit down for an initial consultation with our misdemeanor defense lawyer in Lakeland. We’re here to help.