I am charged with a misdemeanor offense and have no prior criminal history. Do I need an attorney to represent me?
Yes. A misdemeanor offense carries a maximum penalty of a year in jail and a $5,000 fine. There are also other possible consequences of a misdemeanor conviction including drivers’ licensing consequences (if it was a driving offense), professional licensing consequences (for example for assaults and those working in the childcare or health care professions), immigration consequences for people who are not U.S. citizens and school suspension or expulsion. It is critical that you have a lawyer represent you who will work to keep a criminal conviction off of your record, prevent you from going to jail and who can also handle the possible collateral consequences of your case.