Misdemeanor charges are often seen as insignificant while, in reality, it can be a big deal. Although the classification of these crimes in Washington might differ slightly from other states, misdemeanors could be punishable with up to 12 months behind bars. This is but one reason why it is a good idea for anyone facing such a charge to talk to a criminal defense attorney.
Incarceration for misdemeanors typically means spending time in a county or city jail, unlike sentences for felonies that could include prison time. For less serious crimes, the punishment might consist of no jail time but fines and community service or probation. Misdemeanor convictions could have an adverse impact on other aspects of an individual's life, sometimes limiting educational opportunities and even restricting living accommodations.
Not knowing the laws of a state to which someone travels could lead to unanticipated jail time. For instance, it is no crime to use marijuana for medical or recreational purposes in Washington, Colorado and Oregon. However, in some other states, having any amount of marijuana can lead to misdemeanor or more serious charges. The same applies when it comes to different DUI laws in different states.
Facing criminal charges is a big deal because a conviction can have severe consequences -- even if it is limited to a misdemeanor. The best way to deal with the situation is to secure the services of an experienced criminal defense attorney. The lawyer can assess the relevant factors and prepare strong defense focused on securing a favorable result.