BOSSIER CITY MISDEMEANOR ATTORNEY
Mistakes can happen at any time and to anyone. Unfortunately, sometimes the consequences of a simple mistake can lead to serious consequences like facing criminal charges. If you are a good-standing citizen and happen to make a bad judgment call, you, among many others, can be left with the taunting questions of Will this result in jail time? Will I have a permanent criminal record now? Will the professional achievement I have worked so hard for end in costly mistakes?
If you are looking to have your slate cleaned and the charges against you dropped, having a skillful Bossier City criminal defense attorney handle the legal issues of your case is the best place to start. At the Law Offices of Michael J. Vergis, our attorneys know how to defend and protect you in the Louisiana criminal court. We know what it takes to navigate the complexities of the criminal justice system and can provide you with the best criminal defense and help fight for your legal rights. Having a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney like Mr. Vergis could be the difference between dropping any criminal charges against you and facing serious penalties.
What is Considered a Misdemeanor Crime?
Louisiana considers any crime that does not have a prison sentence of one or more years or a fine of more than $1,000 a misdemeanor. The crime itself and the severity of the legal issue also play a role in the matter. As such, a misdemeanor crime is less severe than a felony charge. Some examples of common misdemeanor crimes in Shreveport-Bossier City include:
- Simple Marijuana Possession
- Traffic Offenses
- DWI Charges (first and second offenses)
- Petty Theft / Shoplifting (stolen property valued under $1,000)
- Assault and Battery
- Simple Battery
- Domestic Abuse / Domestic Violence (first and second offenses)
- Public Intoxication
- Disturbing the Peace / Disorderly Conduct
- Open Container Charges
- MIP / MIC (Minor in Possession, Minor in Consumption)
- Resisting Arrest
- Prostitution (first offense)
If you have been charged with any of these crimes (or any other criminal offense not listed), it is important that you equip the help of a good criminal defense attorney right away. The criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Michael J. Vergis have years of experience practicing law and building a proper defense against various misdemeanor charges in Bossier City and Shreveport, LA.
What Happens if You Get a Misdemeanor?
Though they are not as severe in nature as felony charges, obtaining a misdemeanor criminal charge in Louisiana can still prove to be a scary and stressful experience. However, regardless of whether you are arrested for a felony or misdemeanor, the first thing that you can expect is to be read your Miranda Rights. Having your Miranda Rights read to you is a necessary part of the process, and failure for law enforcement to do so can lead to a dismissal of your charges.
These rights essentially remind you that you are legally allowed to remain quiet when it comes to questioning and interrogation. It also reminds you of your right to legal help. Don’t take these rights for granted; if a police officer starts to question you, ALWAYS remain silent until speaking with your criminal defense attorney. When asking you questions without a lawyer present, the goal of the law enforcement officer or prosecutor is to obtain evidence to build a case against you. Even if the police offer a “deal” in return for a confession or incriminating evidence, always let the criminal defense lawyers handle the negotiating to ensure nothing is said or done that may compromise your best interest.
When it comes to punishments, there are a few factors that may play into the final decision. Depending on the criminal offense, you could face significant jail time (though no more than a year). The alternatives or additional punishments might also include community service, probation, fines, or mandatory classes.
Attorney Michael J. Vergis understands the legal proceedings that follow a misdemeanor charge and knows exactly what you’re up against. His law firm is dedicated to protecting your rights during this time and working towards the best possible outcome, which is often a complete dismissal of charges in cases of misdemeanors.
Misdemeanors vs. Felonies in Louisiana
The classification of a crime, meaning whether it is charged as a felony or misdemeanor, depends on the severity of the crime itself and the defendant’s prior criminal history. The easiest way to understand the difference between the two is that a misdemeanor encompasses crimes that warrant no more than a year in state jail and no more than $1,000 in fines, while felonies encompass more serious crimes that may result in over a year in prison, over $1,000 in fines, or more. In very extreme cases of violent felony crimes, such as first-degree murder, the death penalty may also be on the table.
Regardless of if you are facing a misdemeanor or felony charge in Louisiana, the law office of Michael J. Vergis wants to help you.
Can a First-Time Misdemeanor be Dismissed?
Depending on the facts of your case and the skill of your Bossier City criminal defense attorney, you may be able to have your charge dismissed. If you are charged and/or receive a misdemeanor conviction, it is also possible to have it expunged, should you follow all the conditions of your sentence. According to the Louisiana Code of Criminal Procedure Article 894(B), “When the imposition of sentence has been deferred by the court, as authorized by this Article, and the court finds at the conclusion of the period of deferral that the defendant has not been convicted of any other offense during the period of the deferred sentence, and that no criminal charge is pending against him, the court may set the conviction aside and dismiss the prosecution.”
If you hope to have the charges against you dropped or set aside, call Bossier City expungement attorney Michael J. Vergis today for a free consultation to discuss the facts of your case.
Multiple Misdemeanor Charges
In certain situations, an individual who received multiple misdemeanor charges may actually end up facing felony charges. For example, though DWI charges in Louisiana are typically classified as a misdemeanor crime, they may only be so for the first and second offenses. This means that should a person receive multiple DWIs in Louisiana (specifically three or more subsequent charges for driving while intoxicated), they will be charged with a felony offense and be subject to the corresponding penalties.
Do You Need a Lawyer for a Misdemeanor?
Although misdemeanors are less severe than felonies and result in a much lighter sentence, it is still a good idea to seek the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney in Bossier City. A criminal case of any kind can have significant repercussions on a person’s life. In addition to the criminal penalties you face, you are also facing consequences in your personal life. A misdemeanor crime will appear on your permanent criminal record and can potentially affect things such as employment, educational opportunities, housing opportunities, and even your romantic life. As such, having the help of an attorney with experience and skill in handling criminal cases can make all the difference in the world.
Whether you face a misdemeanor or a felony charge, you should never try to navigate your criminal case on your own. Having a criminal lawyer like Michael J. Vergis on your side can benefit you in ways that representing yourself cannot, giving you your best shot at having your charges dismissed, sentence reduced, and avoiding penalties such as jail time, fines, and more.
How To Get Out of a Misdemeanor
The first and most crucial step to getting out of a misdemeanor is staying quiet. This means waiting to speak with your attorney regarding your legal case BEFORE speaking with law enforcement or prosecutors. In many cases, when a person is charged with a misdemeanor crime, they feel as though they are capable of verbal persuasion to get out of it. However, this can be a costly mistake and end up digging you into an even deeper hole.
Having someone with extensive experience in Louisiana criminal law and who knows how to defend you against the prosecutors is the second step. When it comes to your future, do not try to handle your criminal charge on your own. Having an experienced Bossier City criminal defense attorney to defend you and protect your legal rights is your best bet at avoiding these charges.
Finally, follow the legal guidance of your attorney. They will work resiliently to fight to have your case dismissed or achieve a lesser sentence against the claimed criminal charges, but you must play your part, as well. This means listening to their advice and legal instruction.
Call an Experienced Misdemeanor Defense Lawyer in Bossier City, LA Today
If you face misdemeanor criminal charges involving a crime against another individual, an individual’s property, or acts of a public safety matter in Louisiana, allow a skilled criminal defense lawyer to handle your case. After all, a misdemeanor is not something you want on your criminal record, and a skilled attorney can provide you with the best chance of avoiding this permanent record.
To speak with an experienced criminal defense lawyer in the Shreveport-Bossier City area, call Michael J. Vergis, Attorney at Law, today. He will listen to the details surrounding your unique case and help set the foundation for a bulletproof defense to the charges levied against you. For unmatched legal services in Bossier City, Louisiana, call (318) 698-3724 and set up your free consultation today.