Bristol Misdemeanor Defense Lawyers Provide Skillful Representation
Tennessee attorneys protect the rights of clients charged with various offenses
Misdemeanors charges are not as serious as felony accusations, but a conviction can result in jail time, a fine and a criminal record that could hamper your future. That is why the Tennessee lawyers at Massengill, Caldwell & Coughlin, P.C. in Bristol take these charges so seriously and work to ensure the misdemeanor defendants we represent have a strong advocate protecting their rights.
What crimes constitute misdemeanor charges?
In Tennessee, there are three misdemeanor classifications:
- Class A misdemeanors — The most serious misdemeanor cases, these include simple drug possession charges, driving under the influence, violating a domestic abuse restraining order and theft of property (other than a firearm) worth up to $1,000. These counts carry a maximum penalty of 11 months and 29 days in prison and a $2,500 fine.
- Class B misdemeanors — This second tier includes assault, prostitution and indecent exposure, as well as criminal trespass (entering without permission) in a home, school or hospital. You could face up to six months in jail and a $500 fine if convicted.
- Class C misdemeanors — Crimes such as disorderly conduct, public intoxication and other forms of criminal trespass are punishable by as many as 30 days in jail and a $50 fine.
A second conviction for a misdemeanor might increase the severity of the penalties. For instance, repeat stalking will be charged as a felony. We treat misdemeanors as serious criminal charges and will resolutely defend you against police and prosecutors. In some cases, we may be able to have your charge or sentenced reduced.
What you can expect if convicted of a misdemeanor
If you’ve been convicted of a misdemeanor, the judge may sentence you to:
- Jail — Though many misdemeanor convictions do not result in incarceration, the judge has discretion to impose any jail time that doesn’t exceed the maximum for the class of misdemeanor of which you were convicted. If you are sentenced to jail, the judge must also set the minimum percentage of that time you must serve before you become eligible for an alternative or concurrent program, such as work release, furlough or substance abuse rehabilitation.
- Probation — The judge may suspend all or part of the jail term and place you on probation for up to two years or, upon conviction for domestic abuse, up to eight years. You might be granted limited probation so that you may go to work. However, staying on probation, instead of going to jail, depends on you reporting to a probation officer, obeying the law and satisfying any other condition the court imposes on you.
- Other sentencing options — Instead of or in addition to jail or probation, the judge may require you to pay fines and fees to the court or restitution to the victim, perform community service, or assign you to a treatment or supervised recovery program.
Once you complete your sentence, it might be possible to petition the court to expunge your convictions. Expungement erases your conviction as if it never existed, but only some misdemeanors are eligible for expungement. If you are convicted of a misdemeanor, we will seek to convince the court to give you a lenient sentence and, if you are eligible, can seek to expunge your record when the time comes.
Contact a dedicated Bristol misdemeanor defense attorney today
The criminal defense attorneys at Massengill, Caldwell & Coughlin, P.C. understand the seriousness of misdemeanor charges and provide the defense you need. Call us at 423-797-6022 or contact us online to schedule a consultation in our Bristol, Tennessee office.