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Sentencing and diversion options for misdemeanor charges

Facing criminal charges, no matter the severity, is never an easy time. Even when a defendant is facing misdemeanor charges, this could still mean serious penalties that could impact the offender's life if he or she is convicted. In order to limit the effects misdemeanor allegations or convictions could have on an offender, it is important to be aware of the defense options available.

Facing criminal charges, no matter the severity, is never an easy time. Even when a defendant is facing misdemeanor charges, this could still mean serious penalties that could impact the offender's life if he or she is convicted. In order to limit the effects misdemeanor allegations or convictions could have on an offender, it is important to be aware of the defense options available.

Misdemeanors are considered lesser criminal offenses with the maximum penalty being a fine, jail time or both. Misdemeanors are divided into four different classes, and each classification carries a different maximum penalty. For a class A Misdemeanor, the maximum penalty is $6,500 and up to a year in jail, a class B Misdemeanor carries a maximum penalty of $3,500 and up to six months in jail, a class C Misdemeanor carries a maximum penalty of $1,250 and up to 30 days in jail and unclassified misdemeanors carry penalties that are specific to their particular statute.

Depending on the type of misdemeanor a defendant is currently facing, he or she could take steps to reduce or dismiss the charges. In some cases, a diversion program might be an option. If the accused has never been convicted of a DUI or has not been convicted of one in the past 10 years, he or she could enter the diversion program. This could help the offender avoid serious penalties associated with this charge.

Another option for a defendant is a deferred adjudication program. This requires the defendant to file a petition with the court and enter a guilty plea to the charges; however, if the defendant successfully completes the program, the charges will be dismissed. In contrast, if the defendant does not comply with the terms of the program, they will be sentenced on the charges.

While some might treat misdemeanors like they are not a serious criminal charge, these charges do have the potential to carry serious penalties and fines. Therefore, those accused of a misdemeanor should take these charges seriously, taking the time to fully understand their criminal defense options.

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