What is a Misdemeanor in Florida?
In Florida, a misdemeanor is a crime less serious than a felony, and is often punishable by less than one year in jail. A common misconception about misdemeanors, however, is that you do not need to hire a criminal defense attorney after an arrest. Although less severe than a felony, a misdemeanor is still a serious criminal charge which carries negative consequences throughout life, even after the sentence is served.
Without an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side, a misdemeanor can come with hefty fines, jail time, and a permanent record affecting future employment. If you have been charged with a misdemeanor in Palm Beach County, contact our office so we can review your case immediately.
Common Misdemeanor Offenses
In Florida, some of the most common misdemeanor offenses include:
- Driving under the influence (DUI)
- Domestic violence
- Petit (petty) theft
- Possession of less than 20 grams of marijuana
How a Florida Misdemeanor Conviction Can Affect Your Life
A misdemeanor charge in Florida is no slap on the wrist. Even if the crime is small, withholding adjudication of guilt is still a conviction under Federal law!
Additionally, a misdemeanor charge will be placed on your permanent record which can affect all aspects of life going forward. Most employers in the United States conduct background checks and will elect not to hire employees with a criminal record. If your current employer finds out about a prior conviction, they can seek to terminate your employment. Even landlords often conduct background checks and can decide not to rent to you solely based on your criminal record in Florida therefore limiting where you can live.
If you are placed on probation after being charged with a misdemeanor and have one slip up, you can violate your probation and spend up to one year in jail.
Reasons to Hire a Palm Beach Defense Attorney for a Misdemeanor
If you're debating whether or not to hire a defense attorney for your misdemeanor case in Florida, think about this...
If you do not have a record, a defense attorney may be able to have your case dismissed, or sealed and expunged. Having your record expunged removes the case from public record and even gives you the right to deny the fact that you were even arrested under most circumstances.
A Palm Beach County criminal defense attorney can even appear for you. If you are not expected to be present at your hearing, your attorney can appear on your behalf. It is also foolish to go to court without a lawyer because what you do not know can only hurt your case. Some collateral consequences attached to civil state penalties can include things such as loss of public funding like welfare benefits or student loans, and even the loss of voting and firearm rights. A fantastic quote from Abraham Lincon states:
"He who represents himself has a fool for a client."
Lawyer for Misdemeanor Charges in Palm Beach County
When charged with a misdemeanor in Florida, it is always best to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. With over 18 years of experience, The Law Offices of Matthew Konecky is well equipped to handle misdemeanor cases big or small.
If you or a loved one has been arrested for a misdemeanor in Palm Beach or Broward Counties, we are on standby and ready to be in your defense. Contact us or call us at (561) 671-5995 so we can review your case immediately. I've also written a free guide, 'My Loved One Has Been Arrested: What’s Next?' which is an overview of the criminal justice system in Florida.
The Law Offices of Matthew Konecky handles misdemeanor cases in all of Palm Beach County, Palm Beach Gardens, West Palm Beach, Wellington, Boca Raton, Jupiter, Boynton Beach, Delray Beach, Loxahatchee, Royal Plam Beach, Riviera Beach, Lake Worth, Greenacres and all of Broward County.