What is a Misdemeanor Lawyer?

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  • Written By: Jessica Saras
  • Edited By: Michelle Arevalo
  • Last Modified Date: 05 January 2020
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As the name implies, a misdemeanor lawyer provides legal representation for individuals who have been charged with a misdemeanor offense. Generally, misdemeanor crimes are less severe than felonies, however, individuals found guilty of a criminal offense will nevertheless have a criminal conviction on their record, which can damage future employment, housing, and educational opportunities. As a result, many individuals decide to hire a misdemeanor lawyer to handle their case.

Unlike felony crimes, the penalty for a misdemeanor crime does not usually include imprisonment, and does not result in the loss of personal liberties, such as the right to vote or serve on a jury. In most cases, the convicted individual will instead be fined, sentenced to probation or required to complete community service. If incarceration is involved, the sentence is usually no more than 30 days. Individuals with a prior criminal conviction, however, can face more severe penalties.


One of a misdemeanor attorney’s initial responsibilities is to attempt to negotiate a reduced sentence on his or her client’s behalf and, in turn, avoid the stress of a courtroom trial. Also known as a plea bargain — in this type of negotiation, the client agrees to plead guilty to the charges in exchange for a reduced sentence. In cases where no agreement can be reached, a misdemeanor lawyer will research the crime to determine an appropriate criminal defense strategy that can be argued during the trial. During this investigation and throughout the entire trial process, the lawyer will update the client and advise him or her of potential outcomes, as well as provide professional recommendations for the case.

Misdemeanor lawyers have an advanced knowledge of criminal laws. As a result, the trained attorney is responsible for evaluating the unique facts of each client’s case, and advising him or her of potential outcomes. When a client is convicted of an offense, a misdemeanor lawyer will also attempt to negotiate a sentence that best fits the client’s particular situation.

In most countries, misdemeanor lawyers are employed privately or by the government. Misdemeanor lawyers who work in a private practice are hired and paid by the client. Those employed by the government, on the other hand, are known as public defenders and are assigned to represent clients who cannot afford to obtain legal representation on their own.

Regardless of whether a misdemeanor lawyer practices privately or is a public defender, individuals who have been charged with a misdemeanor crime should always consider hiring a criminal lawyer to handle their case, as legal representation can often make the difference between a conviction and an acquittal.



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