Quincy Criminal Defense Attorney
Charged with a misdemeanor?
Some could be under the impression that a misdemeanor, versus a felony, is not very serious. Yes, it usually means a lighter sentence. But having a misdemeanor on your record can have disastrous effects on your life, as well as lead to up to 12 months in jail. A misdemeanor can prevent you from obtaining a job. It could even block you from attending college. There's also the issue of a negative impact on your reputation in your community, as a misdemeanor conviction in a district court is public record. Some community newspapers print these public records, and of course, they are available on the internet.
Some examples of misdemeanors are disorderly conduct, disturbing the peace, trespassing, possession of marijuana, cocaine, heroin or ecstasy, malicious destruction of property, and OUI (Operating Under the Influence, or DUI). There are many more. If you are arrested and charged with a misdemeanor, it is important to enlist the help of a Weymouth criminal defense lawyer immediately. With fast defense actions, you could increase your chances of having the charges dropped or a lesser charge or penalty.
Misdemeanor or Felony?
In the State of Massachusetts, the law states that a felony charge is for a crime that is punishable by death or imprisonment in a state correctional facility. The crime is a misdemeanor if it does not fall under this definition.
However, in Massachusetts, there are two types of correctional institutions. One is called House of Correction, or County Jail, and the other is State Prison. Generally, if a person is incarcerated in a state prison, he was convicted of a felony. If the defendant is incarcerated in a House of Correction or jail, the crime was a misdemeanor. But a defendant can be tried and sentenced in a district court, even for a felony. If so, the defendant cannot be sent to a state prison. Massachusetts General Law c. 218 §27 states "[t]he district court may impose the same penalties as the superior court for all crimes of which they have jurisdiction, except that they may not impose a sentence to the state prison." An exception is a person who has previously served time in prison. Even though he may be tried for a subsequent crime in a district court, he can be sentenced to state prison. Misdemeanor crimes in Massachusetts are relegated to one of two classes based on the maximum length of time one can be incarcerated. A level two misdemeanor carries an incarceration time of more than six months, and a level three misdemeanor carries one that is six months or less.
The jurisdiction for every criminal charge will be with the District Court initially, but cases can then be transferred to Superior Court when appropriate, such as in cases involving murder and other serious felonies. Defendants tried and convicted in District Court can only be sentenced up to 2 ½ years in jail, even if the charge is a felony. In Superior Court, the convicted defendant can be sentenced up to life in prison.
Obtaining Qualified Legal Advocacy
When you hire my firm to represent you when you have been charged with a misdemeanor, I personally inspect every aspect of your case to provide you with a quality defense case. There are times when charges have even been dropped and your criminal record remains safe from damage. It is not uncommon to persuade police officers, clerk magistrates, the district attorney and even judges to not file complaints or dismiss the case.
My skills as a Quincy criminal attorney enable me in some circumstances to negotiate with the prosecutor even before trial, and this can result in a resolution favorable to you, including not having a criminal charge on your record. If, however, the case does go to trial, I am there to skillfully defend you throughout the process, including arguing for and possibly obtaining an acquittal. The best possible outcome is my utmost goal in each and every case. Contact my firm Flanagan & Associates, for the caring support and top-notch legal representation you need to if you hope to avoid conviction.