"He got me a second chance and got me back on track with probation."
- Ray K.
Generally speaking, crimes are divided into two categories which consist of felonies and misdemeanors. Oklahoma defines misdemeanors very broadly. Put simply, a misdemeanor is any crime which is not a felony. More specifically, that means that misdemeanor charges are those charges which are punishable by less than a year in county jail. Although they carry less punishment than felonies, misdemeanor charges are not to be taken lightly. They can often carry high fines and court costs, as well as jail sentences.
More importantly, some types of misdemeanor charges are predicates to being charged with a felony for a subsequent offense. For example, being caught with a small amount of marijuana is a misdemeanor charge for a first offense. However, a second offense with a small amount of marijuana causes that charge to be a felony. This is why it is vitally important that even the most minor charges be adequately defended by a skilled criminal defense attorney. One never knows when a case they consider small can have a huge impact on their future.
When you are charged with a misdemeanor, the first court appearance will be an arraignment. This is where you are formally charged by the court and given a copy of the charges against you. With a lawyer present, this takes about 10 minutes. Without a lawyer it can take hours. Following arraignment, the next court date will be a disposition date where defense lawyers and prosecutors negotiate to determine if a plea agreement can be reached. If an agreement is reached, a plea will be entered subject to the plea agreement. If no agreement can be reached, the client is left with two options. The client can have a jury trial, or enter a blind plea before the judge. In a blind plea, the judge decides what the punishment will be. In a jury trial, a jury must find the accused to be proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. It is Mr. Glover's job to negotiate the case and give advice as to weather a client should take a plea agreement or go to trial. However, the decision of whether to plead guilty or go to trial always rests with the client.
Things to remember if arrested or charged with a misdemeanor
- BE POLITE
- No one ever helps their case by being rude or aggressive with the police.
- REMAIN SILENT
- Rarely does one talk their way out of being arrested. Don't make admissions or respond to accusations.
- INVOKE YOUR RIGHT TO COUNSEL
- If arrested, the only statement you should make to the police is that you wish to speak to an attorney.