Since misdemeanors are punishable by less serious penalties compared to felonies, many people assume that they can fight their charges without hiring a skilled criminal defense attorney. However, even a conviction of a misdemeanor can lead to harsh consequences that can last a lifetime.
Here are some reasons why it is important to hire a lawyer when facing a misdemeanor offense:
- A conviction could result in a jail sentence – There are two main types of misdemeanors in Rhode Island: misdemeanors and petty misdemeanors. A misdemeanor is punishable by a maximum one-year jail sentence and a fine not exceeding $1,000, while a petty misdemeanor carries a jail term of up to six months and a maximum $500 fine. Whether you are convicted of a misdemeanor or petty misdemeanor, you could be sentenced to jail time for either.
- You could obtain a criminal record – A conviction also results in a permanent mark on your criminal record. So, whether you are applying for a job or trying to find housing, a background check will reveal that you have previously been convicted of a crime and ruin your chances to gaining employment or a place to live.
- The criminal justice system is complex – Without an experienced lawyer on your side, you could be vulnerable to the pitfalls of the legal process. If you make a mistake—such as failing to appear in court or accidentally leaving the state—at any point during the criminal proceedings, you could be in further legal trouble. Your attorney can help you make the best decisions in your case and guide you through the complexities of the criminal justice system while protecting your rights and freedom.
If you have been arrested for a misdemeanor offense in Rhode Island, contact The Law Office of Thomas C. Thomasian, Esq. today at (401) 312-4385 and request a free case review.