Misdemeanor arrests are so prevalent in Jackson and throughout Mississippi. It seems like just about anybody can get slapped with a misdemeanor arrest. Although these are typically considered to be ‘lesser’ or ‘lighter’ charges than the more ominous felony charges, it’s still really important to take them seriously.
It doesn’t take long for a couple of misdemeanor charges to really impact your life and livelihood. As soon as you’ve been charged or arrested for a misdemeanor crime, you need to speak with an experienced and proven criminal defense attorney about your case.
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The Lesser Crime
Misdemeanors are typically considered the “lesser crimes.” The penalties aren’t as harsh, and if convicted, you shouldn’t spend more than one year behind bars in jail. People convicted of misdemeanors aren’t usually headed to maximum-security federal correctional facilities. In most cases, you’ll likely have to serve out your months-long sentence in the local county jail. Likewise, the stigma associated with misdemeanor convictions and arrests is much lighter than with felony offenses. For a variety of reasons, misdemeanors are known as lesser crimes. Listed below are a few examples of misdemeanor crimes.
Examples of Misdemeanor Crimes
- Simple assault
- Disorderly conduct
- Petit larceny (theft of property under $500)
- Criminal mischief
- Resisting arrest
- Carrying a concealed deadly weapon
- Driving under the influence
- Possession of up to 30 grams of marijuana
- Possession of small amounts of certain drugs
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Injury Associated With Misdemeanor Crimes
Misdemeanor charges are usually reserved for crimes where nobody was seriously injured. The severity of a victim’s injury can quickly escalate a charge from misdemeanor to felony assault. Minor fisticuffs could typically be regarded as misdemeanor crimes. If somebody is seriously injured, no matter what crime you were involved in, it’s possible to face additional charges or even felony charges. Since misdemeanors are considered the lesser crimes, they aren’t usually associated with serious bodily injury or death.
Monetary Value of Property Involved
Another element of any misdemeanor case is the amount of monetary value associated with a case, especially involving theft. Petit larceny is a misdemeanor charge reserved for the theft or shoplifting of items valued at less than $500. If you go over $500, you could be facing felony charges. Since the value of certain items, especially in used or not-new condition, can be contentious, it’s essential to speak with your lawyer about any concerns you have over the value of items in question. It could be the difference between spending a few months in jail or a few years in a correctional facility.
Amount of Drugs Associated With The Arrest
Finally, an element that frequently distinguishes misdemeanor from felony charges is the amount of drugs associated with the arrest. In Mississippi, being arrested in possession of more than 30 grams of marijuana can get you slapped with felony charges. Misdemeanor charges are for those arrests where only a very small amount of certain controlled substances are involved. In fact, more than 0.1 grams or one dosage unit of cocaine is considered a felony. This is where a lot of non-violent drug offenders can really get in to trouble. At certain quantities, in the eyes of the law, you’re considered to have the intent to distribute. Your idea of a recreational amount of drugs and the law’s idea could be vastly different, and that could land you in a federal correctional facility doing the mandatory minimum for a non-violent drug offense.
Penalties for Misdemeanor Convictions
- Up to one year in jail
- Fines up to $2,000 or more
- Restitution to victims
Misdemeanor Charges in Jackson
Very few people take misdemeanor charges as seriously as they should. These charges, while considered to be less serious than felony charges, can still have a huge impact on your life. It’s also important to understand that your life can be disrupted for up to a year at a time. Not only will you be out of work if you’re in jail, you’ll also be out of a job, and likely facing fines, court fees and probably some type of restitution. The best way to handle a misdemeanor charge is to face it head on, with an attorney by your side. Once you’ve been arrested and charged, ask to speak with your lawyer. Exercise your right against self-incrimination and wait for your lawyer to arrive before you give any details to investigators. If you or somebody you love has been charged with any type of misdemeanor crime in or around the Jackson Metro Area, contact the skilled and proven team at Coxwell & Associates, PLLC at (601) 265-7766 for an immediate case consultation.