Why You Should Fight Your Cumberland County Misdemeanor Charge
When you’re charged with a misdemeanor in Cumberland County, you always want to fight it. Don’t assume that a misdemeanor can’t come with damaging penalties because it’s not a felony. Here’s what you need to know about misdemeanors in Cumberland County, and why you should always fight them.
Not All Misdemeanors Are in the Same Class
A misdemeanor charge can have a class designation. These classes indicate levels of seriousness for the offenses:
- Class 3
- Class 2
- Class 1
- Class A1
People who think of misdemeanor charges can often only think of Class 2 and Class 3 types of misdemeanors. Those two classes represent the most common offenses with the least amount of penalties. Still, even those lower-class misdemeanors can come with concerning penalties.
Class 3 Misdemeanor Offenses
At this level, a charge can come with up to 20 days, depending on prior convictions, in jail and up to a $200 fine. Some examples of Class 3 Misdemeanors include shoplifting, simple marijuana possession, city code violations, and various other smaller crimes.
Even though these charges have maximum penalties, most non-repeat offenders can get away with just a fine. Although, some jail time can still come into play in some cases.
Class 2 Misdemeanor Offenses
Class 2 offenses can come with up to 60 days, depending on prior convictions, in jail and up to a $1000 fine. Some examples of this type of offense can include resisting arrest, disorderly conduct, simple assault, and reckless driving.
Class 1 Misdemeanor Offenses
Penalties become even more serious in this class. You can receive up to 120 days in jail, and the fine amount is completely up to the court’s discretion. You can receive this type of charge for possessing drug paraphernalia, damaging property, making threats, or soliciting a prostitute.
Class 1A Misdemeanor Offenses
These offenses carry a maximum jail sentence of 150 days and a maximum fine that the court decides. Class 1A includes the most serious of misdemeanor charges that still haven’t crossed into felony territory. Some examples of 1A offenses can include assault, violating a restraining order, child abuse, and sexual battery.
Other factors can affect the sentencing for each of these misdemeanor classes. Prior convictions will place you closer to the maximum penalties for each class. In addition, the sentencing can also substitute jail time for probation, community service, or a mix of all three.
All of these penalties, from the smallest to the largest, can impact your life in negative ways. The time spent away from family, work, or other duties can lead to problems you won’t have the ability to fix until you’re done with your sentence.
Not All Misdemeanors Are Set in Stone
A misdemeanor charge also comes with a few options you can take advantage of. You can accept the charge, take the conviction, and deal with the penalties. However, you can also choose to fight the charge.
With the help of a criminal lawyer, you can often challenge every aspect of the charge against you. Some potential outcomes can include things like:
- Lowering the class of the charge
- Having the case dismissed
- Going into a deferral program
- Negotiating lesser penalties
- Asking for a bench trial
- Accessing a pretrial services
Each of these scenarios can possibly help you limit the effect a misdemeanor charge can have on your life and livelihood.
Before you plead guilty to a misdemeanor charge, speak to a lawyer about your situation. Dismissal of your charge is a best-case situation, but even a lessening of the class or penalties can help. If you’re facing a misdemeanor charge in Cumberland County for any reason, contact the Carl L. Britt Jr Attorney at Law immediately.