A misdemeanor in Oklahoma may not seem like that big of a deal initially—mainly because it’s not a felony. This flawed belief leads many to attempt to defend themselves against a misdemeanor charge on their own. However, doing so carries a ton of risk.
If you or a loved one is facing a misdemeanor charge, or if you end up facing one in the future, it’s important to know why it’s always advised to seek legal representation to defend yourself against the charge and the punishments that may accompany it.
The impact of a misdemeanor in Oklahoma
A misdemeanor in Oklahoma can range from petty larceny to public intoxication and plenty of other charges in between. And although misdemeanors are not as significant as felonies, they can still have a big impact on your life in addition to dealing with the courts, fines, and possible jail time.
Some other examples of misdemeanors include:
- assault & battery
- drug possession
- domestic violence
- drug possession
As you can see, misdemeanors can still be rather serious. So, if you find yourself charged with one, you should not view it as a minor charge that you can merely handle on your own—hiring an attorney to fight the charges on your behalf can make a massive difference in how your case turns out, including avoiding possible jail time. A misdemeanor in Oklahoma generally carries a maximum sentence of less than one year. And while maximum sentences for misdemeanors are not common, you may still face jail time of up to 30 days and a $500 fine for a conviction.
But it doesn’t end there. Even after you’ve completed the sentence and/or paid the fine for your conviction, it could still end up on your criminal record, which could affect your ability to get a job or even obtain housing—not to mention the damage to your reputation due to the conviction being public record.
How can a lawyer help?
A capable attorney is your biggest ally when fighting a misdemeanor charge and can make a huge difference in the outcome—both short and long-term. For example, when going through your case, an attorney can examine the circumstances and see if law enforcement followed proper procedures during your arrest, including whether or not you were lawfully searched. The attorney will look for any holes in the charges against you to pinpoint any grounds for dismissal.
Furthermore, an attorney can negotiate a plea deal with the prosecutor to lessen the severity of the punishment and potentially get the conviction expunged from your public record—a complicated process that is extremely difficult to attempt on your own.
Sure, you can always forgo an attorney and attempt to represent yourself, but if you take that route, be aware that you’re risking actual jail time, additional jail time, higher fines, and a conviction remaining on your public record. The judge is not on your side, and certainly not the prosecutor either.
Don’t face your misdemeanor charges alone
You always have the right to an attorney, but it’s ultimately your decision to ask for one.
As you’ve learned, experienced legal representation will make a substantial difference in the outcome of your misdemeanor case. Overman Legal Group, PLLC is a uniquely modern criminal defense and civil law firm that provides personalized service through a team of dedicated and award-winning attorneys who will always utilize every last resource on your behalf when fighting your charges.
Again, don’t face your misdemeanor charges alone. Align yourself with an experienced team of attorneys with extensive expertise in legal defense—and a proven record of success.