When we hear the term “misdemeanor,” we might immediately think that it’s not as serious as a felony. While it is technically true that most misdemeanors are not as serious or impactful as felony charges in Staten Island, NY, thinking of them that way also risks downplaying the severity of misdemeanor charges. The penalties can still be seriously disruptive to a person’s life. Any conviction also gives them a criminal record which, in some ways, can be even more detrimental than any of the legal penalties that may be given. It’s important to take your defense against these kinds of charges seriously. At The Vitaliano Law Firm, we can help by crafting a thorough defense for you, hopefully to avoid the more impactful outcomes.
Misdemeanors are generally considered to be less serious crimes than felonies. In particular, they tend to cause less damage or lack the potential to cause as much damage as a felony. However, it’s important to recognize that Staten Island laws, prosecutors, and courts still take these crimes very seriously. In particular, repeat offenders are handled very firmly. In some cases, a repeat offense may bump a misdemeanor charge up to a felony. Misdemeanors will typically fall into one of three categories:
Judges are given a range into which the penalty for a particular misdemeanor conviction must fall. They will determine the severity of the penalty that they issue based on a variety of factors, including:
The penalty ranges for the different categories of misdemeanors are:
Additionally, judges may also penalize things like probation, which often replaces jail time for a first offense. A conviction will also result in a criminal record. This will appear on background checks and can negatively impact things like trying to get certain jobs, applying for higher education, and seeking a professional license.
A: A statute of limitations sets a deadline for how late after a crime occurs that a person can be charged for that crime. Generally, the more serious the crime, the longer the statute of limitations. That is why, for most felonies, the statute of limitations is at least five years and, sometimes, there is no limit. For misdemeanors, the charges must be brought within two years of the crime and just a single year for petty offenses.
A: In general, it can be very difficult to get any crime expunged from your record. However, there are some narrow circumstances where some misdemeanors may get expunged as long as all the proper criteria are met. Working with a criminal defense attorney can help you better understand if you are eligible for having a misdemeanor expunged.
A: If you find yourself arrested for a misdemeanor, remember to stay calm, keep quiet, and call your lawyer. The moments after an arrest can be a time when some people make their case much worse for themselves. They may say or do something that ends up being held against them in court. By maintaining your composure, you are much more likely to ensure that you make wise decisions in those moments rather than doing something that could hurt your case. It’s critical that you use your right to remain silent, as police will be looking for anything you might say that could be considered to be even slightly incriminating. Lastly, call us at The Vitaliano Law Firm. We help protect your rights and begin investigating your case to build the defense that you need.
A: As criminal defense lawyers, we take on a variety of tasks, all in service of protecting your rights and ensuring that you get a fair and formidable defense. The first task we often take on is seeing that things like your rights against self-incrimination, to remain silent, and against unlawful searches are protected. This could begin even before you are arrested, during the investigation process.
We also perform our own investigation in service of putting together the strongest defense that we can on your behalf. This might involve a proactive defensive strategy, but it also includes thinking like a prosecutor. The more we can envision how they will attempt to prosecute the case, the better we can challenge it in a way that creates a “reasonable doubt” in the minds of the jury.
Misdemeanors may be considered less serious offenses than felonies, but it doesn’t mean that the penalties aren’t real. Even if you can avoid jail time, the reality of having a criminal record can provide significant challenges in many aspects of life moving forward. Don’t take these charges lightly, and don’t settle for an overworked public defender, who likely won’t be able to give your case the attention that it deserves. You need a motivated, aggressive defense on your behalf that is ready to exhaust every option for you. At The Vitaliano Law Firm, our clients, whether they are charged with the harshest of felonies or the lightest of misdemeanors, get our full effort, attention, and support. If you’re facing misdemeanor charges, contact us today to discuss your case.