Thursday, February 21, 2013

Why you should consult with an attorney on even a minor charge -Collateral Consequences

The consequences of a misdemeanor may seem very little and easy to understand.  The possibility of jail time, a fine, etc.  This post continues on why you should consult with an attorney on a misdemeanor charge (see previous post for introduction).

While the penalties set out for misdemeanors may appear to be straight forward, there may be hidden consequences that you are unaware of, which an attorney would be able to advise you on.  For example, if you are convicted of a DUI, any subsequent DUI may come with MANDATORY jail time.  If you are convicted of petit larceny, a subsequent larceny may be a FELONY.  Due to these collateral consequences, it is important you understand the full impact of a conviction before going to court.  An attorney will be aware of these collateral consequences and should advise you as to those consequences.

Further, you should think about the impact a conviction may have on your job, school, career or any future plans you had.  For example, many companies that require you to drive frequently or provide a company car, may be seriously deterred if they see you have been convicted of a DUI.

Consulting with an attorney prior to court will help you see the big picture of the charge you are facing, not just the short term effects of a conviction.