Many people who have been charged with a misdemeanor offense in Virginia elect not to hire a private criminal defense attorney for their case. The main reason being that misdemeanors are punished less severely compared to felonies.
However, a conviction can still lead to serious consequences that can haunt a person for the rest of their life. That is why hiring a lawyer is worth the cost in the end.
Here are a few reasons why it is important to hire an attorney when facing a misdemeanor charge:
- The possibility of a jail sentence – There are four types of misdemeanors in Virginia: Class 1 (highest), Class 2, Class 3, and Class 4 (lowest). A Class 4 misdemeanor is punishable by a maximum $250 fine, while a Class 3 misdemeanor carries a fine of up to $500. However, a Class 2 misdemeanor can lead to a jail sentence of up to six months and a maximum $1,000 fine, while a Class 1 misdemeanor can result in a maximum 12-month jail term and a fine not exceeding $2,500. If you face a potential jail sentence, a lawyer can help you avoid facing the maximum penalties.
- You face a permanent criminal record – Whether you have been charged or convicted of a drug crime or DUI, a misdemeanor offense can stay on your criminal record for the rest of your life. This could make obtaining employment, applying for college, finding a place to live, or taking advantage of other opportunities in life quite difficult.
- Get the best possible outcome – Many people who have been charged with a misdemeanor offense are facing the criminal justice system for the first time. Navigating the complex legal process alone can leave you vulnerable to several pitfalls that could land you in further trouble. Although the service of a public defender is free, their massive caseloads do not allow them to enough time to thoroughly review your case and provide the best defense available. A private criminal defense lawyer is committed to protecting your rights and future from start to finish and either getting your charges significantly reduced or your entire case dismissed, if possible.
I am Attorney Andrew J. Cornick and my team has helped countless individuals facing misdemeanor charges across the Commonwealth of Virginia. I provide each of my clients with effective and personalized legal solutions to help them get the most favorable results in their case.
For more information about misdemeanors in Virginia, contactmy firm at (540) 827-4446 and request a free case review today.