A misdemeanor case is a lesser criminal act in the legal system that is punished less severely and is considered to be a less serious felony.
Any criminal offense where you face maximum imprisonment of one year and not more than that is a case of a misdemeanor.
If you commit a misdemeanor, you will be charged $500 and not more than that. It includes minor assaults, tax law violations, traffic law violations, and other smaller offenses.
If you are committing a misdemeanor in georgia for the first time, the state will include it as a non-violent offense.
A misdemeanor case might not end up in trial. However, you still need an attorney if you have been charged with a misdemeanor case.
1. Filed Charges
A misdemeanor case can include police tickets, citations, and or arrest warrants authorized by the prosecutor. If you want to charge someone with such a case, then you can file documents with the district court.
The suspect will appear at the district court after being charged. They will be advised to maintain their constitutional rights meanwhile, the court will determine the amount of bail they need to pay.
If the defendant pleads guilty, they will be scheduled for sentencing, and if they are not guilty, there will be more trials.
2. What Is The Process In A Misdemeanor Case?
The court might first determine whether or not the evidence is applicable to the defendant. The prosecutor and defense lawyer can meet each other to determine whether the defendant will plead guilty or not.
During the process of trials, the judge or jury will determine the amount of crime committed by the defendant. The prosecutor can call all the witnesses to the crime. If the defendant pleads guilty on the basis of the provided reasonable witnesses, then they won’t be asked to prove their innocence.
If the defendant is found guilty according to the evidence and facts. The judge will set a date for sentencing. The probation officer might provide a pre-sentencing investigation report that contains information regarding the crime. It will also contain the defendant’s background and sentence recommendation.
During sentencing, the judge might consider information from that report. The judge may tell the defendant to perform community services, fines, probation, and more as an alternative means of sentencing.
The defendant will be provided with the right to apply to the Circuit Court. In Georgia, a misdemeanor case is not considered a felony. However, if you commit a misdemeanor in Georgia, you will be subject to a fine of up to $1,000. Although the case of a misdemeanor will stay on your criminal record for life, even in Georgia.
3. Time Factor
A misdemeanor case will take from 1 month to 6 months, depending on the complexity. In the beginning, the judge will want to know whether the defendant will be representing themselves or they have an attorney.
Once the defendant can sort out the part regarding the attorney, they will proceed to the arraignment. If a person is charged with a misdemeanor case, the person can be cited or arrested for conducting such a crime. While they are arrested, they will be given an opportunity to post for bail.
And if the person is cited, then the officer will provide them a ticket or citation and will schedule a date to appear in court. Even if they are bailed out, they can still be called to court.
The first court date is actually called for arraignment, and the person can find it out in court whether the district attorney will file a charge against them or not. They can also find out about the details relating to the charges.
4. The First Haering
If you are a defendant who has been charged with a misdemeanor case, your district attorney will let you know if they are still investigating your case. They are not sure whether they will file charges yet. They might ask you to come back 30 or 60 days later.
The district attorney will keep a file relating to a similar case you are charged with. You can also expect to hear that the district attorney didn’t file any charges.
During the first hearing, the judge will ask you whether you will be representing yourself or have a private lawyer.
5. After The Hearing
If you plan to bring a private attorney representing you, then after the first hearing, your attorney will receive a copy from the police regarding your accusation. Your attorney can ask for some time to reflect and review the police reports in order to find any additional evidence that can help you with the investigation process.
6. The Court Settlement
The court settlement is actually the next court date after arraignment. The district attorney and defense attorney negotiate to attain a possible resolution regarding the case. The district attorney will offer something in order to resolve the case.
The defense attorney can either accept, counter, or reject the offer to move toward the following trial. There can be one to several settlement conferences. The judge needs to prepare and discuss the case before coming to a resolution.
During the settlement, in the next stage, the judge will select the date of trial in case of a misdemeanor in Georgia. They will be looking for a last-minute resolution.
How To Deal With It?
Most first-time defendants will be charged with nonviolent offenses and will be fined in most cases. So, you don’t need to worry if you are being charged with a misdemeanor for the first time. Chances are those charges will be resolved.
However, in case of a serious misdemeanor, you will need an attorney to represent you in court. The state of Georgia offers certain attorneys who will fight on your behalf.