While misdemeanors are considered less serious than felonies, a conviction could still have significant ramifications. You could be sentenced to up to a year in jail and face additional penalties like fines, victim restitution, and a rehabilitation program. A permanent criminal record will make it tough to find housing and a job, qualify for a loan, and more.
If you are being charged with a misdemeanor, you should get in contact with an experienced and qualified Union City misdemeanor defense lawyer right away. Attorney Gil understands how the Georgia criminal justice system works and can help you secure the best possible outcome for your specific case.
He has helped many clients beat misdemeanor convictions or secure favorable plea deals that allow for probation and community service instead of jail time. You may qualify for a diversion program and be able to avoid having your misdemeanor conviction appear on your permanent criminal record.
If you’ve been charged with a misdemeanor, get in touch with the Law Offices of Gilbert Sperling, III, and have your case handled by a professional Union City criminal defense attorney. Call 404-418-7816 now to schedule a no-obligation consultation today and have your case reviewed for free.
What Is Considered a Misdemeanor in Georgia?
In Georgia, misdemeanors are criminal acts that are considered less serious than felonies and are not punished as harshly.
According to Georgia Code § 17-10-3, misdemeanors can be punished by jail time not exceeding 12 months or a fine not exceeding $1,000 or both. The majority of misdemeanor crimes are eligible for suspended sentences and probation.
A felony conviction can result in one or multiple years in prison and fines exceeding tens of thousands of dollars. Felonies are usually ineligible for a suspended sentence or probation.
Misdemeanors in Union City, Georgia, include:
- Simple assault and simple battery
- Carrying a pistol without a license (first offense)
- Carrying a concealed weapon (first offense)
- Disorderly conduct
- Reckless driving
- DUI (driving under the influence)
- Possession of less than one ounce of marijuana
- Shoplifting goods worth less than $300
- Theft of property worth $1500 or less
- Criminal trespassing
- Violating a protective order (if the violation is not another offense)
- Sexual battery (first offense)
Even while these charges are not felonies, a conviction can have long-term ramifications. Fines and jail sentences are possibilities. Having a criminal record can make it difficult to find housing and employment or get a loan, among other consequences.
You do not have to face a misdemeanor charge alone. Seek professional legal help by calling 404-418-7816 today.
What Are the Classes of Misdemeanors in Georgia?
There are two different classes of misdemeanor offenses in Georgia.
Misdemeanors can be punished by jail time not exceeding 12 months or a fine not exceeding $1,000 or both. The majority of misdemeanor crimes are eligible for suspended sentences and probation.
High and Aggravated Misdemeanors
High and aggravated misdemeanors are considered more serious. A charge can be elevated from a misdemeanor to a high and aggravated misdemeanor if the defendant has been previously convicted of the same crime. You could also be charged with a high and aggravated offense if you flee from the police as a first-time offender.
The charge can also be elevated based on the identity of the victim. Simple assault and battery become high and aggravated misdemeanors if the victim is a family or household member.
The maximum sentence for high and aggravated misdemeanors is 12 months in jail and a fine of no more than $5,000.
What Are the Possible Punishments for Misdemeanors?
If you are being charged with committing a misdemeanor and found to be guilty, the judge presiding over your case may impose one or more of the following sentences:
- Jail time (for up to 12 months)
- Fines up to $1,000 or up to $5,000 for high and aggravated misdemeanors
- Payment of restitution (used to compensate the victim)
- Weekend lockup or work release (for short sentences that last for less than six months)
- Educational classes or community service hours (instead of fines or jail times)
- Participation in a family violence intervention program or no-contact orders
- Conditional discharge or first-offender status, or
- Probation with/without supervision.
In addition to jail or prison time, fines, and probation, people convicted of certain infractions in Georgia can also face additional penalties such as:
- Special Terms of Probation for Drugs
- Loss of Driving Privileges
- Asset Forfeiture
- Sex Offender Registration
How Will a Misdemeanor Conviction Affect Your Life in the Future?
In Georgia, a misdemeanor conviction may prevent you from finding employment. You may be viewed unfavorably by potential employers that run background checks on applicants. Many important applications, such as those for medical school, nursing school, law school, or graduate school, require that a misdemeanor conviction be disclosed.
A misdemeanor charge can also impact immigration status. Criminal behavior that violates the community’s norms of fairness, honesty, or good morals is referred to as a moral turpitude offense. If you commit one of these crimes, you could be unable to obtain or maintain residency in the United States.
People who’ve committed a misdemeanor offense will often be required to attend some form of rehabilitation program like anger management or DUI court intensive probation.
For many, the collateral consequences of a criminal conviction will include:
- Difficulty obtaining a loan or credit
- Difficulty finding housing
- Expulsion from school or difficulty getting into college
- Ineligibility for student loans and other types of financial aid
- Loss of the right to own a firearm (for family or domestic violence)
Can I Have a Misdemeanor Conviction Expunged?
Most misdemeanor convictions are eligible for expungement in Georgia. You can request to have up to two separate misdemeanor convictions.
If this is your first-time offense, you may be eligible for a diversion program. You may have to petition the court to expunge the charge from your record if you’ve completed a program that makes you eligible.
Different charges will have different requirements for expungement, so you’ll need to contact an experienced attorney like Attorney Gil to find out if it’s possible to have charges removed from your record and what steps you’ll need to take.
What Is the Statute of Limitations for Misdemeanors?
Georgia’s statute of limitations governs how long prosecutors have to prosecute a crime.
It is often in the defendant’s favor that statutes of limitations are granted. Since the prosecutor’s office has the burden of proof in criminal court proceedings, they must compile their evidence and file a formal charge before the statute of limitations expires if they want a ruling made in a misdemeanor case.
When it comes to misdemeanor offenses, the statute of limitations is just two years.
Work With a Trusted Union City Misdemeanor Defense Lawyer!
If you are charged with a misdemeanor, don’t make the mistake of assuming that you do not need to worry about hiring a skilled Union City defense lawyer. You could face up to a year in jail and struggle to find a job with a criminal record.
With the right legal representation, there is a chance for you to qualify for a diversion program and avoid having your misdemeanor conviction appear on your permanent criminal record. If you are currently facing misdemeanor charges, you need to take action immediately by getting in touch with the Law Offices of Gilbert Sperling, III.
As a top-rated criminal defense lawyer, Attorney Gil has the skills, knowledge, and experience needed to represent you. He has helped many clients beat misdemeanor convictions or secure favorable plea deals that allow for probation and community service instead of jail time.
If you are currently searching for a Union City misdemeanor defense lawyer, call 404-418-7816 now to schedule a no-obligation consultation and have your case reviewed for free.