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How to Get Out of a Misdemeanor Charge


How to Get Out of a Misdemeanor Charge

So you’ve been charged with a misdemeanor and you’re hoping you’ll be able to get out of it. There’s good news and bad news. 

The good news is there are quite a few cases where, with the help of a good criminal defense attorney, you can absolutely get out of a misdemeanor charge…or at least reduce it to the point where you’re not seeing jail time. In some cases, we can even get the charges dropped or use deferred prosecution to keep the misdemeanor off your criminal record.

The bad news? Nothing is guaranteed. 

Here’s how you can increase your chances of getting out of a misdemeanor charge.

Make it harder for the police to gather evidence against you.

As soon as you start interacting with the police they are doing their best to gather evidence against you. They’ll try to make you say and do things that can be used against you later.

If you clam up, they have less to work with. 

Don’t wait for an arrest or a Desk Appearance Ticket to exercise your 5th Amendment rights. Speak clearly and firmly. Say: “I am exercising my 5th Amendment rights and I want an attorney.”

Then say nothing. Else. Give your name and contact information if asked, because you have to by law, but then immediately invoke your 5th Amendment rights again. The moment you start talking you waive them. 

This may not help very much if there is photo or video evidence against you, but it will help a great deal if the police are only going by someone else’s words, or scant evidence like a flawed breathalyzer test. The specific evidence they need and may have will depend on the charge and the facts of the case. 

In many cases, defendants condemn themselves with their own words and actions. Stay calm, stay cool, don’t resist the police officer, and resist the urge to defend yourself with your words. Leave that to your lawyer.

Hire a private criminal attorney and go over your options.

The best a public defender will ever be able to do is negotiate a plea bargain. In some cases this will be your best option, but in most cases it won’t count as “getting out” of the misdemeanor charge.

You need a private attorney who has time to see issues with the prosecution’s case. For example, if it’s apparent the prosecution doesn’t have enough evidence to convict then your private attorney can argue to get your charges dropped. 

Before attempting anything your attorney will tell you what’s likely and possible given the facts of your case. For example, someone who has never been charged before has a far greater chance of a deferred prosecution agreement than someone who has already been arrested and charged three times.

Follow your attorney’s instructions. 

Anything your attorney can do for you will require certain actions on your part. For example, if you get a deferred prosecution agreement then you may need to engage in community service or demonstrate that you’re attending certain programs. 

You may need to read and sign paperwork, or help your attorney gather exculpatory evidence.

Failing to follow directions can undermine your attorney’s efforts and make it harder to help you.

Our first instruction? Give us a call for a free consultation. We’re ready to help. 

See also: 

Should You Plea Bargain Your New York Criminal Case?

What You Need to Know About Bail Reform

Getting Misdemeanor Charges Dismissed in Orange County, NY

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