In the eyes of the law, not all criminal activities are the same. Lesser crimes are typically classified as a misdemeanor, and more severe crimes are usually felonies. Misdemeanor crimes can vary by state, so you will need to explore the laws in your state to determine if your charges are suited for the crime that you may have committed. Some common misdemeanor crimes may include minor vandalism, minor shoplifting or even speeding your car. Some misdemeanors are punished with a ticket and a fine. Others may be punished with community service or even imprisonment.
Hire a Lawyer
If you have been charged with one of the more serious misdemeanor crimes or even if you have a lesser charge that you want to fight against, hiring a lawyer is a great idea. Look for a lawyer who has experience with the type of crime that you have been charged with. Do not assume that all criminal defense lawyers have experience in a specific area of the law. For example, some criminal lawyers focus on cyber-crimes, and others focus on vehicular or juvenile crimes. You may also pay attention to the payment terms of the lawyer. Some lawyers may allow you to set up a payment plan for your legal fees, and this could make it easier for you to pay for legal services if you are on a tight budget. A lawyer may fight for your charges to be reduced or even dropped altogether, or he or she may defend you in a court of law.
Fulfill the Terms of Your Punishment
If you have been convicted of your crime or if you have pleaded guilty or no contest, you must fulfill the terms of your punishment. For something as minor as a speeding ticket or moving vehicle violation, you may be able to pay a fine and take a defensive driving course to fulfill the punishment. Remember that you may have to fulfill your punishment for a misdemeanor conviction by a certain date, and you may need to provide proof to the courts. Other types of misdemeanor convictions may require you pay a heftier fine or to even spend time in a local jail. For some punishments, court-mandated therapy or other types of treatment may be required. Most of these punishments may have a specified completion date that you must comply with.
Prepare for a Civil Lawsuit
Depending on the nature of your crime, you may also need to prepare for the possibility of a civil lawsuit. A civil lawsuit may be filed against you if you have caused another person or entity to experience pain and suffering or to deal with financial loss in some way. For example, if you ran your car into another person’s house while you were driving recklessly, a civil lawsuit may be filed against you for property damages, hotel expenses while the family was unable to live in the home, medical expenses, lost wages and more. This may be in addition to facing criminal charges for reckless driving. A criminal attorney usually does not provide services for personal injury civil lawsuits, so you may need to hire another attorney to represent you if this is the case. Be aware that a civil lawsuit may be filed against you even if you are not convicted of criminal charges. These are separate types of cases.
Some misdemeanor crimes are the result of intentional actions, and others may be the result of unintentional accidents. For example, you may drive off the road and into someone’s home when you try to swat a bee out of your car’s window. While this type of event may be an unintentional accident, you may still be charged for it in a criminal case and in a civil case. Remember that this type of conviction may stay on your criminal history or background for a lengthy period of time in some cases. Depending on the nature of the crime, it may even prevent you from qualifying for a rental home or a new job. Even though a misdemeanor charge is less severe than a felony, you must still address the issue with the same level of attention in order to move past the issue.