Although misdemeanor charges are not as serious as felonies, a conviction can result in a long jail sentence, costly fines, and a permanent mark on your criminal record. One of the wisest decisions you can make – in order to obtain the most favorable results possible – is to hire a private criminal defense lawyer.
The following are the common reasons why it is worth hiring a lawyer for your misdemeanor:
- You could serve time in jail. It is a serious matter when you are charged with any type of crime. In Arizona, you can spend up to six months in jail for a misdemeanor conviction. Having a reputable lawyer on your side can help you either reduce your charges or have your case thrown out entirely.
- You risk having a permanent mark on your criminal record. While an arrest can be voided, a conviction cannot. A permanent criminal record for a misdemeanor offense can have a negative impact on your personal and professional reputation. An experienced lawyer can help you avoid having a permanent record.
- Experience matters. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help you navigate through the complexities of the court system. He or she possesses an extensive knowledge of the law, the practices and procedures, as well as both judges and prosecutions. Your lawyer is obligated by law to work for the best outcome and advise you of all potential consequences that could happen.
- Representing yourself is not a good idea. According to the Sixth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, you have a right to counsel to represent you in a criminal case – even if you choose to be your own lawyer. In order to obtain the court’s permission to represent yourself, however, you are required to make a knowing and intelligent waiver of your right to counsel by demonstrating your understanding of the legal process.
- Public defenders have their limitations. If you do not want to pay for private counsel, you could always get a lawyer appointed to you by the court. However, public defenders often have a substantial case load and may not have enough time to thoroughly assess all of your available legal options.