London Misdemeanor Defense Attorney
A misdemeanor offense in Kentucky can be punished by up to a year in jail and up to $500 in fines. Also, many offenses are charged and punished more severely if the defendant has prior convictions. So even what seems like a fairly minor misdemeanor conviction at the time can come back to bite you later and expose you to felony charges because of your criminal record.
Any criminal charge should be taken seriously, meaning you should consult with an attorney before making any statements or entering a guilty plea or a plea of no contest to the charges. An experienced criminal defense attorney can analyze the situation you are in, advise you of your options, and represent you to get the best result given the circumstances, whether that means negotiating a favorable plea or vigorously defending you in court.
The London misdemeanor defense attorneys at the Cessna & George Law Firm will give you an honest assessment of your case and provide you with strong, effective representation designed to get the best outcome, whether you are charged with a misdemeanor or felony. Learn more about our firm’s misdemeanor representation below, and call us immediately if you have been arrested for a misdemeanor offense in London or Southeast Kentucky.
What Is a Misdemeanor?
Kentucky law defines a misdemeanor more by what it isn’t than by what it is. According to Kentucky statutes, a misdemeanor is a criminal offense punishable by confinement other than in the penitentiary, whether or not a fine or other penalty may also be assessed. If the crime can be punished by confinement in the penitentiary, then it is classified as a felony. If the offense can only be punished by a fine or some other penalty besides confinement, then it is classified as a violation. All other offenses are misdemeanors.
Misdemeanors in Kentucky are further divided into two categories: Class A and Class B. A Class A misdemeanor can be punished with up to 12 months in jail, while the maximum sentence for a Class B misdemeanor is 90 days in jail. Conviction of a misdemeanor also comes with a fine, and it’s up to the judge or jury whether to order imprisonment in addition to the fine or to only impose a fine. Fines can be up to $250 for a Class B misdemeanor and up to $500 for a Class A misdemeanor.
Here are just a few examples of Kentucky misdemeanor offenses:
Class A Misdemeanors
- Assault in the Fourth Degree
- Criminal Trespass in the First Degree
- Forgery in the Third Degree
- Possession of Burglar’s Tools
- Sexual Misconduct
Class B Misdemeanors
- Criminal Trespass in the Second Degree
- Indecent Exposure in the Second Degree
- Possession of less than eight ounces of marijuana
Some offenses are known by criminal law attorneys as wobblers, because they can be charged as either felonies or misdemeanors, or different classes of felonies or misdemeanors, depending on the circumstances. It’s very important to get legal representation early on if you are charged with a wobbler. Prosecutors will often charge the most serious offense, but a good defense attorney can just as often get the charge knocked down to a lesser offense, making it easier to defend against or negotiate a favorable plea.
Examples of wobblers in Kentucky include:
- Assault in the Third Degree can be charged as a Class A misdemeanor or a Class D felony
- Indecent Exposure in the First Degree can be a Class A or B misdemeanor or a felony
- Promoting Prostitution (pimping) is a Class A misdemeanor but can become a Class D felony if two or more prostitutes are involved
- Theft can be a felony or a misdemeanor depending on the value of the property involved
Citations, Arrests, and the Statute of Limitations for Misdemeanors in Kentucky
According to Kentucky law, the police in many instances are required to issue a citation instead of arrest you for a crime that is a misdemeanor. A citation is a notice to appear in court at a designated time; failure to appear can lead to a warrant being issued for your arrest.
For most misdemeanors in Kentucky, charges must be brought within one year from the date of the alleged offense. However, if the misdemeanor is a sex offense involving a minor, prosecutors have up to ten years from the time the alleged victim turns 18 to file charges.
Misdemeanor Convictions Can Be Expunged
If it’s been five years from the completion of your sentence or probation (whichever is longer) without another conviction, you can apply to have the misdemeanor conviction expunged from your record. This means you can lawfully answer no when asked about any convictions on a job application, loan application, rental application or situation. Getting a record expunged requires going to court for a hearing. The prosecutor, victim and others are notified in advance of the hearing, so you’ll want to be prepared with legal representation to answer any challenges from others who might object to the expungement. Expungement is not available if the misdemeanor conviction was for a child or sex offense.
Sharp Misdemeanor Defense in London, Kentucky
The criminal defense attorneys at the Cessna & George Law Firm are staunch defenders of your rights. If you get in trouble with the law, we’ll look into your case and let you know where you stand. With years of experience trying cases and helping people out of bad situations, we are equipped to advise you and represent you for a positive result in your case. Don’t plead guilty to a misdemeanor or submit to questioning before you have talked to a criminal defense attorney who can help you. In London and Southeast Kentucky, call the Cessna & George Law Firm for insightful and effective misdemeanor criminal defense.