Misdemeanor charges are nothing to overlook. A conviction may not land you in prison, but it can leave a permanent stain on your criminal record resulting in lifelong consequences. For this reason and many others, it is crucial that you waste little time in securing legal help when notified of misdemeanor charges. The Orlando misdemeanor lawyers at The Umansky Law Firm are seasoned criminal defense lawyers in the Greater Central Florida area. With experience as state and local prosecutors, our team of attorneys has key insight as to how the opposition operates. We can use our knowledge to be proactive in our defense and push to have charges lessened or dropped altogether if possible.
A misdemeanor is a category of criminal offense recognized by state law. The difference between felonies and misdemeanors rests on the potential penalties that can result from a conviction.
Misdemeanor jail terms cannot exceed one year and the penalty for a 2nd-degree misdemeanor conviction is only 60 days. Likewise, the highest fine that can result from a misdemeanor conviction is $1,000.
The penalties for a felony are much higher. The lowest tier—a 3rd-degree felony—carries a maximum sentence of 5 years in prison. More serious charges could lead to a life sentence or even the death penalty. Felonies also carry as much as $15,000 in fines as well.
There are numerous offenses that qualify as misdemeanors in Orlando, and an experienced attorney could defend you against any of these charges. Misdemeanors can involve violent offenses or certain non-violent offenses like traffic-related arrests. Some of the most common examples of misdemeanors include:
The importance of having legal representation cannot be stressed enough. People often make the mistake of assuming that they can adequately represent themselves (pro se); however, self-representation is highly inefficient and can result in one facing the harshest of penalties. The benefits of having a private defense attorney are seemingly endless but most importantly include having someone who:
Just as importantly, a lawyer can provide emotional and moral support during this trying time.
The best-case scenario when it comes to hiring an Orlando misdemeanor attorney is having the charges dismissed entirely or securing an acquittal at trial. While this is the ultimate goal for any defense strategy, the reality is there are other ways to resolve a misdemeanor case in a favorable way. One of those ways is through something known as a withhold of adjudication.
Most of the time, when a person enters a plea of guilty, the judge accepts it right away. With a withhold of adjudication, the judge waits on accepting a plea of guilty. Instead, a defendant is offered the opportunity to serve a set term of probation while the case is held open. This usually involves a variety of terms like avoiding additional criminal charges. Once the period has expired and all requirements are met, the judge will dismiss the case instead of accepting the guilty plea.
There are some risks with this approach. A defendant that does not meet the requirements will see their guilty plea accepted. Not only does that mean they will face the consequences of a conviction, but they will also give up any chance of a trial. An Orlando misdemeanor attorney could advise when this option is a good idea.
Before you defend yourself in your misdemeanor case, it could benefit you to seek the guidance of an attorney. Strong legal counsel could advise you on options you might not be aware of. Let an Orlando misdemeanor lawyer serve as your advocate. Call right away for a confidential consultation.
Orlando Criminal Defense Attorney