Is it Worth it To Pay a Lawyer to Defend a Misdemeanor?
Most people will only need to deal with a lawyer once or twice in their lives. This may be for a divorce, the purchase of a home, or possibly something like a bankruptcy or foreclosure. So when people get charged with a “minor” misdemeanor like public intoxication or assault, it can be easy to brush it off and think maybe you can just come clean and discuss it with the police to get a better deal. The problem with this logic is that it assumes a lot of things.
At the Law Offices of Todd K. Mohink, P.A., our criminal lawyers routinely help people fight against improper criminal charges, and we look for ways to get better terms for those who do plead guilty to offenses. Here are some things to consider if you are charged with a Maryland misdemeanor.
Misdemeanor Does Not Equal “Minor” Offense or “Minor” Penalties
If you think just because something is only a misdemeanor, then you may not quite be looking at it right. After all, the distinction between misdemeanor and felony does not necessarily mean a misdemeanor won’t hurt your life in serious ways. There are very serious penalties, even for seemingly tiny offenses. Consider just a handful of examples from Maryland’s Sentencing Guidelines:
- Write a bad check for more than $100 You could face up to a year in jail
- Write a bad check for less than $100 Still could face up to 90 days in jail
- Using extortion or threats under $100 You could spend up to 18 months in jail
Lawyer Versus Fines; You Do the Math
When people find out what their lawyer wants for a retainer, they often give up and walk away, only to later discover that the retainer was a bargain when compared to the penalties and fines they face due to a conviction. For instance, court fines and penalties can often approach several thousand dollars in addition to the potential for jail time. And jail time means the loss of a job and income.
Beyond all of these tangible and monetary reasons for hiring a lawyer, there are also the long-term consequences. For example, a criminal conviction (even a misdemeanor) can haunt you for years, making it harder to keep a job, raising your insurance rates, and even limited education and housing options.
Why it Makes Sense to Hire a Lawyer
When you add up all of the inconvenience and expense involved in pleading guilty or facing a jury alone, it becomes much clearer that an attorney is a wise choice. Plus, without one you face the possibility of making a critical error that could result in you being charged with additional crimes that were not even suspected to begin with. Having an attorney who can speak for you and help you frame your responses to inquiries can keep you out of trouble, even if you have not been formally charged yet. So, if you are facing a criminal charge, talk to an experienced Glen Burnie criminal defense lawyer at the Law Offices of Todd K. Mohink, PA now.