If It's Just a Misdemeanor, Should I Just Plead Guilty?

Posted By David L. Carlson, Attorney At Law || 26-Oct-2015

If you are charged with a misdemeanor, there are many considerations you must mull over before you decide if a guilty plea is the right decision. In Virginia, misdemeanors are divided into four classes based on the maximum punishment enforced.

The classes and punishments associated include:

  • Class 1: Up to 12 months in jail, a fine worth up to $2500, or both
  • Class 2: Up to six months in jail, a fine worth up to $1000, or both
  • Class 3: A fine worth up to $500
    • Examples: Illegal gambling, possession of a schedule V drug
  • Class 4: A fine worth up to $250
    • Examples: Public intoxication, public profanity

All misdemeanor trials are held in Virginia district courts, meaning that a judge alone decides whether you are guilty or not, based on reports and evidence gathered by the police upon your arrest. It’s important to know that if you decide to plead guilty, the misdemeanor will remain on your permanent record for life. You have a constitutional right to have an attorney for any crime that has the possibility of a jail sentence. Since Class 3 and Class 4 misdemeanors only carry a fine, no option for a court appointed attorney is presented.

Hiring an attorney is imperative in order to receive the proper guidance and legal representation you deserve. Having a criminal defense lawyer who can evaluate the police protocols and determine if your rights were violated can create a tremendous advantage. If any part of your arrest process was handled improperly, evidence against you can possibly be kept out of court, penalties may be reduced, or the charges may be dropped completely.

If you have been charged with a misdemeanor and need a Richmond criminal defense attorney to represent you, our team at Carlson & Collier has the skill and knowledge to provide a personal defense strategy to help you seek justice. Call (804) 227-4774 for a complimentary phone consultation.

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