The Misdemeanor Defense Attorney in Indiana You Can Trust
If you’re looking for a misdemeanor defense attorney in Indiana, don’t settle for hiring any law firm that will accept your case. Instead, consider your decision carefully and choose a law firm you can trust: Worthley Law in La Porte, IN. We have extensive experience handling misdemeanor charges in every area of law, and we’re here to offer legal guidance through this challenging time in your life.
In the years we’ve been providing legal representation, we’ve seen firsthand the damage a criminal conviction can cause. Why take a chance with your future? Even one minor conviction for a misdemeanor can have long-lasting consequences that affect virtually every area of your life.
Worthley Law: Offering Quality Representation in Indiana
Not only does a pending misdemeanor charge put your freedom at stake, but you could also lose your job and get stuck paying hefty court fines. If you want to have any chance of avoiding those consequences, hiring a criminal defense lawyer with enough knowledge and skill to handle your case is extremely important.
At Worthley Law, we have committed ourselves to protect the freedom and rights of individuals facing criminal charges. If you have a pending misdemeanor charge in Indiana, our law firm is here to help. To schedule a consultation, call Worthley Law now at (219) 575-8565.
Classes and Sentencing Guidelines for Misdemeanor Offenses in Indiana
The US states all have different sentencing guidelines for misdemeanors and felonies. As you may know, the most serious offenses are felonies. However, that doesn’t mean you should take a cavalier attitude about going to court for a misdemeanor arrest.
In fact, even the lowest class of misdemeanor offenses carries the potential of incarceration. Here’s a breakdown of the different misdemeanor classes and corresponding penalties according to the Indiana Criminal Code:
Class C Misdemeanor: Class C misdemeanor charges are the least serious, but don’t misunderstand: you could still serve time in jail. Class C charges can result in the following penalties:
Jail Time: Up to 60 days
Court Fines: Up to $500
Probation: Possible one-year sentence
Common examples of Class C offenses include possession of drug paraphernalia, public indecency, and possession of alcohol by a minor.
Class B Misdemeanor: Class B misdemeanors have harsher penalties than class C offenses. Here are the sentencing guidelines for class B charges:
Jail Time: Up to 180 days
Court Fines: Up to $1,000
Probation: Possible one-year sentence
Class B misdemeanor offenses include public intoxication, disorderly conduct, hazing, battery, criminal mischief, and harassment.
Class A Misdemeanor: The most severe misdemeanor charges are in class A, which is only one level below a felony and carries the highest risk of incarceration. Class A misdemeanor charges can result in the following penalties:
Jail Time: Up to one year Court Fines: Up to $5,000
Probation: Possible one-year sentence
Examples of class A offenses include:
- Criminal trespassing
- Patronizing a prostitute
- Resisting law enforcement
- Possession or sale of marijuana
- Carrying a handgun with no license
- Domestic battery
- Possession of a controlled substance
- Check fraud
- Battery with bodily harm/injury
What Else Can Affect the Sentence You Receive for a Misdemeanor?
Many different factors can impact the sentence you receive for a misdemeanor crime. For example, many clients ask us if they will go to jail for their first criminal offense, but the answer depends heavily on the unique circumstances of your case. Having a clean criminal record lowers your chance of incarceration, but it’s no guarantee.
Here are some other factors that can affect the sentence you receive and whether you’ll serve additional days in jail:
- Whether you have a criminal record
○ The nature and severity of your prior convictions
○ The number of prior convictions on your record
○ How much time has passed since your last conviction
- The specific circumstances surrounding your current misdemeanor charge
- The class of your current charge (A, B, or C)
- If you hurt somebody else in the commission of your alleged crime
- If you committed the alleged crime in the presence of a minor
At Worthley Law, our legal team has experience representing clients with misdemeanor charges in the Indiana court system. Our founding attorney, Mark Worthley, is a former deputy prosecutor. With his unique background, extensive legal knowledge, and genuine passion for helping people, Mr. Worthley exemplifies what makes an experienced, highly qualified criminal defense attorney.
Additional Consequences of a Misdemeanor Conviction
Even if your conviction doesn’t result in a jail sentence, it can still carve a path of destruction through your life and future. If you’re still not convinced that a criminal defense lawyer is necessary for a misdemeanor charge, consider these additional consequences you could face upon conviction.
A criminal conviction for a misdemeanor offense will become part of your criminal history. Remember that criminal records are public information. Anyone with an internet connection can view your pending charges and past convictions. Plus, a criminal record labels you as just that: a criminal. As a result, it can damage your reputation and have far-reaching consequences that you may not have expected.
For example, let’s say that your misdemeanor crime was urinating in an alley behind a bar (public indecency). Depending on the circumstances of your arrest and the sentence you receive, you might have to register as a sex offender. As you can imagine, the stigma of sex crimes can have devastating effects on your family and quality of life.
Potential Driver’s License Suspension
Certain misdemeanor convictions can result in a driver’s license suspension. For example, DUI is a misdemeanor charge that often results in a license suspension. Not being able to drive isn’t just a massive inconvenience; it puts a strain on your family, friends, and wallet.
If the courts suspend your driver’s license and you choose to disregard that and drive anyway, you’ll be running a high risk of rearrest. If the police pull you over and discover your license isn’t valid, they will most certainly arrest you again.
Loss of Your Job and Professional License
Did you know that a misdemeanor conviction could also cause you to lose your job or professional license? Teachers, childcare workers, nurses, government workers, and professional drivers are all at risk of losing their job, license, or certification upon arrest and conviction, even for minor charges.
Limited Future Employment Opportunities
A misdemeanor conviction will also be an obstacle to gaining future employment. Indiana was the first state to “ban the box” on job applications, but that doesn’t prevent employers from conducting a background check or even a simple Google search of your name and record. If your criminal history ultimately prevents you from getting a good job, you’ll have a hard time providing financially for yourself and your family.
Disruption to Your Family Life
A misdemeanor arrest and conviction will also negatively affect your family’s life, especially if you have children or a court-ordered custody agreement. Between the trauma of your arrest, jail time, job loss, and the stress it will cause at home, a misdemeanor conviction can create a veritable whirlwind of conflict, stress, and anxiety in your life.
Criminal Defense Attorneys vs. Public Defenders: Why Is Hiring a Lawyer the Smarter Choice?
As a US citizen, it is your right to choose the type of legal representation you want when you go to court. You have three options: representing yourself, hiring a private criminal defense attorney, or choosing a public defender. However, unless you have a law degree, it’s never a good idea to represent yourself.
One of the biggest factors that drive people to choose a free public defender over a paid criminal defense attorney is money (or lack thereof). Also, some people opt for a public defender because they falsely believe misdemeanor charges aren’t that serious. Before you decide, consider this: public defenders are usually very overworked and sadly underpaid.
In fact, most public defenders have such large caseloads that they inevitably have very little time, energy, and effort to devote to each client. If your lawyer doesn’t have enough time to spend on your case, how will you ever feel confident about facing the judge?
You need a misdemeanor defense attorney with the time and skill to handle your case the right way. At Worthley Law, we believe everybody should have access to quality representation. That belief and our core values of integrity and compassion motivate us to go the extra mile for every one of our clients.
Consider Your Family and Your Future
Remember that it’s not just your future at stake; a conviction will also negatively affect your family. With that in mind, you can see why you need to hire a misdemeanor defense attorney in Indiana with knowledge of the criminal justice system and the experience to handle your charges. At Worthley Law, we have an experienced legal team, and we’re ready to get started on your case.
One benefit of retaining a private lawyer is that you won’t have to face the judge alone in court. Hiring an attorney also presents a much better image to the judge. It shows you’re serious about taking responsibility for your actions and willing to invest in your future.
Choose Worthley Law Because Your Case Is Worth It
When you need the professional legal help of a misdemeanor defense attorney in Indiana, the legal team at Worthley Law is here to help. We strive to offer exceptional representation to every client, regardless of their criminal history, personal background, or current charges.
Even though you may think a misdemeanor charge isn’t a big deal, we implore you to consider hiring a criminal defense lawyer to represent you in court. Upon conviction, you could end up on supervised probation or even in jail, let alone all the other consequences you and your family will face. Don’t roll the dice on your future. Contact Worthley Law now at (219) 575-8565 to schedule your initial consultation.