A misdemeanor is a crime for which the maximum possible punishment is incarceration for one year or less. Generally, misdemeanors are crimes that are less violent or involve lower levels of harm than felonies do.
Misdemeanor crimes include crimes such as:
- 1st offense possession of marijuana
- simple battery
- theft under $300
- minor weapons offenses
- domestic violence
In New Orleans most municipal crimes are classified as misdemeanors as well, and are handled in New Orleans Municipal Court. These crimes include:
- public intoxication
- disturbing the peace
- alcohol in a motor vehicle
- criminal trespass
- failure to pay for food or beverage
- soliciting for prostitutes
- less severe battery cases
The legal procedures for misdemeanors are usually simpler than for felonies, the penalties less severe and the long-term consequences less harsh. Jefferson Parish, St. Bernard, Gretna, and Slidell all handle these misdemeanor offenses differently.
- Penalties typically include fines, property forfeitures or incarceration in a jail for one year or less.
- There is no right to a jury for a misdemeanor.
- Court procedures may be more relaxed than those for felonies.
- Long-term consequences are normally less severe than those of felonies.
- Those convicted of misdemeanors retain the right to vote.
Arrested for a Misdemeanor: DOs and DON’Ts
This is an overview of what you should and should not do in the event you are arrested and charged with a misdemeanor offense in the State of Louisiana. Share this information with your friends and loved ones who live in or may be traveling to New Orleans, or call me now at 504-358-2273 if you have been arrested and charged with a misdemeanor offense.
DO NOT JUST TAKE THE OFFER THE PROSECUTOR GIVES YOU THE FIRST TIME YOU GO TO COURT!
Contact the Weiser Law Firm in Midcity at 3801 Canal Street New Orleans, Louisiana 70119
- Contact an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately. If you have been charged with a misdemeanor offense you need a lawyer. The criminal process can be complex and confusing, and it’s important to understand your legal rights. The best way to be informed is to contact a Louisiana criminal attorney.
- Be courteous to police officers and comply with (reasonable) commands.
- Notice if anyone is around during your arrest or processing. They could be considered a witness in your favor.
- Exercise your right to remain silent. You should only answer questions regarding basic information, like your name and address. Do not answer any other questions.
You Should NOT:
- Attempt to represent yourself. Though not as serious as felonies, misdemeanor convictions can have serious implications for your future. There are ways an experienced criminal defense attorney can reduce your sentence, or negotiate a plea to a lesser charge or even a dismissal. Give yourself the advantage of professional legal representation.
- Speak to anyone about details or facts of the case. Only do so if your attorney says otherwise.
- Make any statements. Don’t try to win your case on the street. Be courteous and cooperative, but don’t think for a minute that anything you say to a police officer is going to help you while on the scene. Let an experienced attorney fight and try to win your case in court.