A misdemeanor crime is less serious than a felony offense, but it remains serious all the same. A conviction can impact your life in as many ways as a felony can:
- You may have to spend time behind bars.
- You may have to pay expensive fines.
- You may find it hard to find a job with a criminal history and record.
- You may find it hard to obtain loans with a criminal record.
- You may find it hard to find good housing in safe situations.
- In some cases, you may find it difficult to maintain custody of your child.
As it is, a misdemeanor conviction can complicate your life even after you have satisfied the terms of your sentence. It is important to fight the charge at all costs to ensure you get the best possible outcome for your unique situation.
At the Higher Level Legal Law Firm, we are committed to you and your case. We approach it from all angles to ensure all relevant defenses and applicable defense strategies are utilized strategically and effectively. We hold the prosecutor, the judge, and the jury accountable to the doctrine that you are innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Contact our office today for a free initial consultation.
What can you expect from a misdemeanor offense in Missouri?
Misdemeanors can be punished by fines and a jail sentence, which is in accordance with the classification of the crime. In Missouri, there are four classes as defined by Section 558.011, RSMo., with the following sentence range:
- Class A misdemeanors are punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $2,000.
- Class B misdemeanors are punishable by up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.
- Class C misdemeanors are punishable by up to fifteen days in jail and a fine of up to $700.
- Class D misdemeanors are punishable by a fine of up to $500.
There are also unclassified misdemeanors, and the penalty range for these crimes are defined by each of their respective statutes.
In addition to fines and jail, you can also expect possible community service, probation, or another type of program specific to the crime, like an alcohol treatment program.
What are the conditions of probation for misdemeanor convictions in Cass County?
Probation for misdemeanors, according to Section 559.016, RSMo., is usually set between 6 months and 2 years. If you are given probation as part of your sentencing if convicted of a misdemeanor, then you can expect the following conditions as a minimum of your probation sentence:
- Laws. You will have to obey all federal and state laws as well as all municipal and county ordinances. Any arrest during probation must be reported to the probation officer within 48 hours.
- Travel. You will have to request and receive advance permission from the probation officer to travel out of the county and the state. Your probation officer must always know where you are at all times.
- Residency. You must request and receive prior approval from your probation officer is you wish to change your residency.
- Employment. You must keep a job unless you are participating in a program approved by your probation officer, like a drug rehabilitation program or domestic violence program. If you need or want to quit your job, you must first obtain your probation officer's approval. As part of the probation program, you have to pay your bills as well as pay fines and fees associated with the misdemeanor you were convicted of, and you can't do that without a job.
- Association. You cannot associate with any other person who has been convicted of a misdemeanor or felony or who is currently on probation. If you encounter such a person while in a program, you cannot associate with that person outside the program. Any association must have prior approval by your probation officer.
- Drugs. You absolutely cannot use or be in possession of any controlled substance unless it is a prescription.
- Weapons. You cannot own, possess, purchase, receive, sell, or transport any firearms or any dangerous weapon if you are on probation for a felony or for a misdemeanor involving firearms.
There are many other terms and conditions you will need to abide by, so as you can see, probation isn't an easy way out. A conviction of a misdemeanor can be life-changing.
Should you plead guilty or not guilty?
Some people believe that the police have the evidence to prove your guilt or else why would the police have arrested you? But that assumption is far from the truth. Having evidence is one thing, and proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt is entirely another thing.
At your arraignment, you will be formally charged with the offense. You will also have the opportunity to plead guilty or not guilty (or nolo contendere). Even if you think you should plead guilty just to get the whole thing over, you should not plead guilty. Doing so ends your chances to fight the charge and means you will have a criminal record, which means you will face difficulties in life due to do your criminal record unless you are able to get the conviction expunged.
If charged with a misdemeanor crime, at your arraignment, do not plead guilty -- even if you feel like the evidence is against you or that it is simply the easiest way to deal with the arrest and charge. You may have an opportunity later to accept a plea deal. If the plea deal is in your best interests, then pleading guilty as part of the plea deal should be the only time you ever plead guilty.
Contact a Misdemeanor Criminal Defense Attorney in Raymore, MO
At Higher Level Legal, we want what is in your best interests. We will review your case and advise you of your options. We will negotiate and argue on your behalf. We will review and explain to you any plea deal offers and advise you on what is best and what it means. We believe you should make informed decisions about your future, and so Higher Level Legal, criminal defense Law Firm located in Raymore, Missouri, will be open and honest about what you can expect and what can be done.
For honest yet aggressive criminal defense, contact The Higher Level Legal Law Firm today.