Criminal Defense for Misdemeanor Offenses

Louisiana divides crimes into two primary categories: misdemeanors and felonies. The law defines misdemeanor offenses as any crime that is not a felony. Misdemeanors are less serious than felony charges and include all crimes that are not punishable by hard labor, death, prison sentences of one year or longer, or fines of $1,000 or more. Most misdemeanor offenses do not involve serious bodily injury or significant property damage.

Criminal Defense for Misdemeanor Offenses

Read below for more information about the criminal defense of misdemeanor offenses in Metairie, Louisiana.

What are Examples of Misdemeanor Offenses in Metairie?

There are many different types of misdemeanor crimes. Common misdemeanor charges in Metairie, Louisiana include:

  • Criminal trespass,
  • Petty theft,
  • Driving without a license,
  • Vandalism,
  • Driving under the influence (first or second offense),
  • Simple assault,
  • Destruction of property,
  • Minor in possession of alcohol,
  • Open container,
  • Disturbing the peace,
  • Resisting arrest,
  • Public intoxication,
  • Domestic abuse battery (first or second offense),
  • Possession of marijuana (first offense), and
  • Possession of drug paraphernalia.

Some misdemeanor charges are increased to felony charges if the individual is a repeated offender or under other aggravating circumstances.

What are the Penalties for Misdemeanor Offenses in Metairie?

Even though misdemeanor convictions are not treated as harshly as felonies in Metairie, they still carry significant penalties. You could face fines of up to $1,000 and/or up-to a year in jail. Sentences are typically served in local or parish jail, not state prison.

Unlike most states that divide misdemeanors into categories or classes based on the severity of the crime, Louisiana specifies the punishment of a misdemeanor in each individual criminal statute. Most often, misdemeanor convictions result in fines, court costs, and probation.

In addition to fines and jail time, there are long-lasting collateral consequences of misdemeanor convictions. A misdemeanor offense will become part of your criminal record and appear on background checks. It can have ramifications on your professional career, educational opportunities, and personal relationships.

Can the Judge Suspend the Sentencing of Misdemeanor Offenses in Metairie?

Article 894 of the Louisiana Code of Criminal Procedure allows for the suspension or deferral of a misdemeanor sentence. This means that under certain circumstances, your misdemeanor sentence can be set aside and dismissed after successfully completing probation. Having a conviction set aside has the same legal effect as an acquittal or not guilty verdict at trial. You can seek to have your arrest record immediately expunged from your record. If this petition is not filed, you will have to wait up to five years from the completion of your sentence to expunge the conviction from your record.

It is in the judge’s discretion whether or not to grant an article 894 petition. The judge will consider various factors including the circumstances surrounding the commission of your crime, the type of crime, and your criminal record.

Generally, article 894 pleas can be used every five years in Metairie. If the conviction is a DWI, the plea can be used every ten years. Louisiana does not allow a misdemeanor criminal neglect or stalking conviction to be suspended or deferred under article 894.

Do You Need an Attorney for Misdemeanor Charges in Metairie?

Misdemeanor charges must be taken seriously. You should reach out to an experienced Metairie criminal defense attorney as soon as you are arrested or issued a summons. A qualified attorney will inform you of your rights and the legal process. They will help you understand the crime that you have been charged with and the potential consequences. Together, you will both decide on the next steps to take.

Your defense will be tailored to the exact crime that you were charged with and the specific circumstances of your arrest. Depending on the case, your attorney may be able to negotiate a complete dismissal or reduced charges. In some cases, you may not even be required to show up at court. Having an experienced attorney on your side will ensure that you achieve the best possible outcome in your case. Do not make the mistake of thinking you can handle your misdemeanor case on your own.

Your Metairie Criminal Defense Attorney

If you or a loved one were arrested on misdemeanor charges, you should reach out to a local Metairie attorney. The Fisher Law Firm is a full-service law firm dedicated to providing the best legal services to Louisiana residents. Your initial consultation is free, so call us today at 504-304-4944 to schedule an appointment at our Metairie, Louisiana office.

 

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