A misdemeanor is a minor criminal offense, but it’s a criminal offense nonetheless. As such, a misdemeanor conviction may result in hefty fines, jail time, and a criminal record. Facing a misdemeanor charge can be scary, especially when it originates somewhere other than your home state. If you were charged in MA but you live in another state, what do you do? Read on for more information about what to do, and what not t to do if you are facing an out of state misdemeanor charge.
Ignorance is Not Bliss
For starters, don’t ignore the charge. The criminal justice system will catch up with you eventually, and ignoring a criminal charge is the best way to ensure a conviction and additional charges. A MA criminal defense attorney can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been arrested in MA but live out of state.
Penalties for Misdemeanor Offenses
Misdemeanors are not as serious as felonies, but that doesn’t mean you won’t face serious penalties. Misdemeanors includes crimes such as simple assault, petty theft, and some OUI offenses. If you are being charged with a misdemeanor offense, you may be facing the following penalties:
- Jail You can face up to one year in jail for a misdemeanor offense.
- Misdemeanor crimes carry fines from $50 all the way to $2,000 or more.
- If your crime involved property damage or resulted in a loss of money for the victim, you may have to pay restitution to cover those damages.
- Some misdemeanors include probation as an alternative, or in addition to, jail time.
Learn from Tom’s Mistake
Consider the following scenario, for example: Tom gets arrested for simple assault while on vacation in Boston. He was drunk and got into a bar fight. Tom spends the night in jail, and is released the next day. Tom is scheduled to appear in court in Boston, but he heads home to Oregon and vows never to return to the Bay State.
Not so fast, Tom. If you try to evade out of state charges, you’ll likely face additional penalties in the future. Even if you never return to MA, a simple traffic stop in your home state could reveal an out of state warrant, unleashing a snowball of consequences that generally far outweighs the penalties of your original offense.
You Need a Local Lawyer
But there are legal steps you can take to reduce or eliminate the cost of travel if you live far from the state in which you were arrested. For starters, you should hire a local lawyer. Depending on the circumstances of your case, you may be able to avoid returning to the state where you were arrested. Courts often allow the defense attorney to appear on behalf of the defendant. A skilled Boston defense attorney can help you protect your rights and reduce your travel expenses if you’ve been charged for an out of state misdemeanor in MA.
Transfer of Sentence
If your sentence only includes probation, you may be able to handle everything in your home state. However, hiring a local attorney (in the state where the arrest occurred) is still essential. An attorney can help you petition for a transfer of sentence, which may mean you never have to return to the state in which the crime originated.
Altman & Altman, LLP – Boston’s Top Criminal Defense Law Firm
If you have been charged with any type of crime, from a misdemeanor to a felony, the skilled legal team at Altman & Altman, LLP can help. We have been protecting the rights of individuals charged with criminal offenses for more than 50 years. Our experienced, knowledgeable attorneys will assess the details of your case to determine the best way to move forward. We have an impressive track record of getting clients’ charges reduced, or dismissed altogether. It is our goal to keep you out of jail and to keep your record clean. If you are facing criminal charges, we can help. Contact Altman & Altman, LLP today for a free and confidential consultation about your case.