Have You Been Charged with a Connecticut Misdemeanor?
It is very common for someone who has been charged with a misdemeanor to treat the whole episode as somehow not particularly serious or important, especially if they have never had any run-in with the law before. However, it is never a good idea to see criminal charges as inconsequential. If you have been charged with a misdemeanor, contacting a criminal defense lawyer is the first step you should take.
Misdemeanors May Not Stay Misdemeanors
Connecticut criminal law has a wide range of misdemeanors, from disorderly conduct to prostitution. Class D misdemeanors are the least serious, usually carrying no more than 30 days in jail and a fine of a few hundred dollars. As the class goes up, so do the fines and the jail terms. Class A misdemeanors like prostitution can carry up to one year in jail, and fines of up to $2,000. No misdemeanor sentence will last more than one year, as Connecticut law immediately classifies all crimes with longer sentences as felonies.
While the sentences for misdemeanors are set down in the law, it is important to keep in mind that depending on the situation, a misdemeanor can be augmented or otherwise charged as more severe. For example, if a firearm or other deadly weapon is used during the commission of the misdemeanor, or if the crime is committed against a vulnerable individual (a disabled, elderly, mentally impaired or blind person), it may turn third-degree assault into second or first-degree.
What About My Future?
One of the reasons that many people treat misdemeanors very cavalierly is that they do not believe that the charge or conviction will adversely affect their future. Some misdemeanors, especially those committed while under the age of 18, do get expunged from a person’s record. However, some do not, especially those which are ‘aggravated’ or carry heightened penalties. If you have even a misdemeanor on your record, you are legally required to answer ‘yes’ when forms ask if you have ever been convicted of a crime.
In particular, having a criminal record can affect your ability to obtain employment. Connecticut has a so-called “ban the box” law which prohibits employers from asking about criminal records during the hiring process, but not every employer honors this, and most other states have not yet implemented these kinds of laws as of this writing. In the short term, you can also suffer adverse employment consequences if you are sentenced to jail, or if your driver’s license is suspended.
Contact a Stamford Misdemeanor Defense Attorney
It is crucial to understand that any type of criminal charge is very serious, and to secure experienced legal representation as soon as possible so that you can be certain your rights are protected while you are dealing with the system. The skilled Fairfield County criminal defense lawyer at the Law Offices of Daniel P. Weiner has handled many of these cases and will work hard to represent your interests. Contact our office today at 203-348-5846 for a free consultation.