A misdemeanor is a less serious crime, such as theft or public intoxication. The punishment for a misdemeanor is generally a fine or a short incarceration in a local jail or both. Typically, misdemeanors do not lead to an indictment or the convening of a grand jury, although some cases may be treated more seriously, as the same action can lead to a misdemeanor or a felony charge. While a misdemeanor charge is less serious, conviction can still cause large difficulties for an individual who becomes a defendant. Persons charged with a misdemeanor should still get the counsel and assistance of a criminal defense attorney.
The penalties for a misdemeanor conviction are often less severe than felony penalties. This means more than simply smaller fines or less jail time. Persons convicted of a misdemeanor can usually still vote, serve on juries, and practice their job. A felony conviction makes all of these much less likely. In some instances, a defense attorney can negotiate to have a felony charge reduced to a misdemeanor in order to reduce the punishment and future consequences of conviction.
The possibly serious consequences of a misdemeanor conviction mean that you should consult immediately with an experienced criminal defense attorney, should you be charged with a misdemeanor.
You should also keep in mind that some crimes may be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. In many states, marijuana possession is a misdemeanor, while possession of the same amount is a felony in other states. An assault can be charged as a felony or misdemeanor, depending on whether it causes lasting injury.
A traffic violation can become a misdemeanor or even a felony if it leads to injury or property damage.
If you would like to schedule a initial consultation contact an Iowa criminal defense attorney, representing clients in Waverly, Iowa at the Dillon Law P.C. Give us a call at (563) 578-1850 or complete our inquiry form.