If you've been recently charged and arrested for a first-degree misdemeanor or infraction of the law, you may wonder if you should contact a lawyer for help. Although first-degree misdemeanors are not as severe second- and third-degree misdemeanors, the charges can still affect your life. If you have previous run-ins with the law, your current charge may also hurt you. Here are two reasons to contact a misdemeanor defense lawyer today.
1. You Have a Previously Sealed or Expunged Record
If you sealed or expunged a misdemeanor in the past, you may want to speak to an attorney about your new charges. Although sealed and expunged records are considered closed, lawyers, government officials, and other important people may obtain legal authorization to access your files if they feel inclined to do so. If a judge does allow officials to examine your sealed or expunged cases, it may affect the outcome of your new charge.
Depending on the federal and state laws of your state, a misdemeanor defense lawyer may be able to prevent the reopening of your previously sealed or expunged records by petitioning the court. An attorney may need to file special forms, petitions, and requests called motions to avoid the reopening of your files.
Hiring a defense attorney may also protect your ability to work or change jobs.
2. You Have Plans to Change Jobs Soon
If you plan to switch professions soon, you want to hire an attorney to represent your case. Some types of misdemeanors may prevent you from working in certain jobs, settings, or locations. A number of applications require you to reveal information about your criminal history. If you lie about your background, an employer may fire you for being dishonest about your past.
An attorney may petition the court to lessen the charges against you. A court may decide to place you on probation or request that you perform community service instead of going to jail. You may also need to attend anger management class, driver's education school, or another setting that pertains to your case. Once you meet the requirements of your case, you may be able to seal or expunge your records.
Hiring a criminal defense lawyer isn't an easy decision to make, but it can be the only option you have right now. If you need help with your misdemeanor or any other legal problem, contact an attorney in your area today.