When it comes to the justice system, there are many levels and classes of punishments that a person can receive for breaking the law. The lowest level of punishment is a misdemeanor, which usually comes with the smallest fines and jail time. While the initial punishment may not seem extreme in many cases, a misdemeanor is still a “big deal” and can have many impacts on your life. If you are facing a criminal charge that could result in a misdemeanor on your record, there are very good reasons to hire a lawyer to fight the charges.
Georgia Misdemeanor Penalties
In Georgia, there are two types of misdemeanors, those of a “ high and aggravated nature” and all others. The difference between the two is noticeable in the amount of fine that is given to the convicted defendant. A misdemeanor deemed of a high and aggravated nature can land a person in jail for up to 12 months and a fine of up to $5,000. All other misdemeanors have up to 12 months in jail, but the fine is only up to $1,000.
Even though misdemeanors can result in jail time, many people have little to no jail time and a minimal fine. First offenses may only receive probation, which is why it may seem like a misdemeanor is not a “big deal.” Unfortunately, many people do not find out how a misdemeanor is going to affect their life until it is too late to fight to keep it off their record.
Informal Consequences of Misdemeanors
The punitive consequences of many misdemeanors are not severe, especially for those facing their first offense. This is why it may not seem like you need a lawyer – the fee for the lawyer is often more than the fine you may face. However, it is collateral damages or the informal consequences that can cost you the most in the long run. Some of these possible consequences include:
- Difficulty getting a job, especially in higher-paying positions
- Renting a home or apartment
- Increased fines or jail time if convicted of future crimes
- Driver license suspension
- It could impact your ability to purchase a firearm
No one has a crystal ball and knows how the actions of today will affect their future. However, it can be safely assumed that having a clean criminal record is beneficial as opposed to having even a minor misdemeanor. If there is a possibility of getting the charges dismissed, it is worth the effort and expense of hiring a lawyer.
At the Law Office of Jeffery P. Manciagli, we work with clients from all types of backgrounds that are facing their first misdemeanor. While not all cases can be won or dismissed, we utilize our extensive experience and legal knowledge to build the best possible defense for our clients. If you have been charged with theft, sex, drug, or violent crimes in Georgia, contact our office in Atlanta to talk to one of our legal team.
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66 Lenox Pointe NE, Building #66
Atlanta, GA 30324
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