If you’ve never encountered any criminal case before, the events of a misdemeanor can be a little confusing and counterintuitive. But, even if it’s your first time, the case will always begin with you getting a complaint and a summons or citation.
The complaint will have a short statement regarding the offense and confirm that your action was considered a case of a misdemeanor. Conversely, the summons will offer information about the time and date to appear in front of the court.
And, if you’re under the age of 18, you’ll need to have a guardian or parent at each and every court proceeding. It’s a must, and failing to do so might lead to losing your case.
On the day of the arrival, you should always get to the court at least 15 minutes prior to the provided time period. Once you check in the clerk’s office at the magistrate court, you’ll be –
- Provided With A Rights Form: You’ll be proffered the form of a right initially. When you’re called into the court, the judge will ask you to read the same and enquire if you understand it or not. If there’s something you don’t perceive, don’t be afraid to ask the judge about it. They’ll explain everything in detail.
- Possible Penalties: Next, the judge will tell you about the charges that have been put against you. After that, they’ll ask you if you understand everything or not; again. Say “yes” if you do. Don’t admit to anything else as of yet. Also, if there’s something that you don’t get, ask the judge about it right away.
- Right To Get A Lawyer: Next, you’ll be asked if you want to have a misdemeanor attorney by your side or not. If you cannot afford one, you can always ask the court to appoint an individual for you. However, in this case, you might have to reimburse the payment of the lawyer partially or in its entirety.
- Make Your Plea: Next, the judge will ask you if you want to make a plea or not. If you’re not too sure about it, you can always ask them to reschedule your hearing for a later date. However, you can also plead “not guilty,” talk to your Dallas Misdemeanor Attorney and let the prosecution prove its case in their way.
- The Process Of Not-Guilty Plea: If you end up pleading not guilty, the judge will let you decide if you want a jury or a court trial. In the latter, the court will go through whatever evidence your opponent has against you and make a decision accordingly. For the former, six members of the jury will decide your fate by following the same.
If you have pleaded not guilty, the court will schedule a pre-trial conference for you. The date and the required notice for the same will be provided to you through mailing. If you didn’t get the same, call your lawyer right away and let them know about this situation.
However, if you’ve asked for a jury trial, the court will schedule the conference at least fourteen to twenty-eight days before the trial. Remember, you must attend this conference with your attorney (and parents, if applicable).
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If you’ve been found or plead guilty, the judge will decide your sentence depending on the extent of the crime. The penalty will be provided in a written format, and you’ll be provided with a copy on the same day.
The duration of your sentence (considering you’ve not been given the death penalty) will rely upon several aspects, including –
- The severity of the crime.
- The number of evidence put against you.
- If you’ve lied during the trial or not.
In any case, even if you’ve been convicted for your crime, you can still appeal against it. But, it can only be done within 42 days, or you’ll miss the chance of reducing your sentence.
A misdemeanor citation, in essence, is a critical matter and, therefore, can only be decided in a formal meeting. Hence, we’ll ask you to dress as appropriately as possible. Besides, it would be best if you went there on time as well. Missing out on the deadline might lead the judge to consider the trial as misconduct to the authoritative diligence.
Mashum Mollah is a tech entrepreneur by profession and passionate blogger by heart. He is on a mission to help small businesses grow online. He shares his journey, insights and experiences in this blog. If you are an entrepreneur, digital marketing professional, or simply an info-holic, then this blog is for you. Follow him on Instagram, Twitter & LinkedIn