While it’s true that the consequences of a misdemeanor are not nearly as severe as those associated with a felony, misdemeanors do carry some steep fines, possible jail time and other short- and long-term consequences. You should not treat a misdemeanor charge lightly and, like if you were to receive felony charges, you should retain the help of a skilled criminal defense lawyer to fight for your rights and your freedom.
Differences Between Felony and Misdemeanor Charges
Though both felonies and misdemeanors are unlawful acts, the former are much more serious than the latter. For this reason, they also carry much harsher penalties. Felonies are punishable by a term of imprisonment that ranges from one year to life. Some may even result in the death penalty.Examples of felony acts are as follows:
- Armed robbery
Misdemeanors, on the other hand, generally don’t result in jail time. Those misdemeanors that do typically come with a term of imprisonment of a few days to a few months, though some result in 364 days behind bars.Examples of misdemeanor crimes include the following:
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Public intoxication
- Speeding and/or reckless driving
Petty Vs. Regular Misdemeanor
New Mexico recognizes two types of misdemeanors: Petty misdemeanors and misdemeanors. Petty misdemeanors are the least serious crime one can commit in New Mexico. Examples of petty misdemeanors include shoplifting less than $250-worth of items, graffiti that results in less than $1,000-worth of damage and disorderly conduct. Petty misdemeanors carry a fine of no more than $500, a term of imprisonment of no more than six months or both.
Examples of misdemeanor offenses include battery, trespassing, possession of drug paraphernalia and shoplifting items with a value of more than $250 but less than $500. As more serious offenses, misdemeanors may result in a fine of up to $1,000, a term of imprisonment of no more than one year or both. Though it is not common for misdemeanors to result in jail time, a judge does have the discretion to base the severity of a sentence on a person’s criminal record, the amount of damage and/or injuries caused and whether or not the defendant shows remorse for the crime.
It is important to note that unless a crime carries a mandatory minimum prison sentence, the judge may dole out an alternative punishment. Alternative options include drug counseling, probation, community service and home detention programs.
Hire a Skilled Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you face misdemeanor charges in New Mexico, reach out to the Albuquerque criminal defense lawyers at Simon A. Kubiak, Attorneys At Law, PC, for the defense your case needs and deserves. Not only can a misdemeanor result in legal consequences, but also, a conviction can hurt your finances, job opportunities and even relationships. Simon A. Kubiak is prepared to fight on your behalf to ensure you don’t experience those consequences first-hand. Contact our law firm today to learn more.