WHILE MISDEMEANOR CHARGE IS NOT AS SERIOUS AS A FELONY CHARGE, A CONVICTION CAN STILL AFFECT YOUR LIFE CONSIDERABLY. /
If you are found guilty of a misdemeanor, you may spend as much as two years in jail, and you may also pay a significant fine. In addition, the conviction will likely remain on your record indefinitely, which will impact your life even after you have served your sentence.
In the state of Iowa, misdemeanor charges are divided into three separate categories: simple, serious and aggravated. The category of your charge will determine the possible consequences if you are convicted.
Simple misdemeanors are the least serious of all misdemeanor charges. Common examples of simple misdemeanors include assault without bodily harm, trespassing, domestic abuse (first offense) and possession of drug paraphernalia. If you are convicted of a simple misdemeanor, you may be ordered to pay a fine ranging from $65 to $625. You may also serve up to 30 days in a local jail.
Serious misdemeanors carry more significant charges than simple misdemeanors. Common examples of crimes in this category include operating while intoxicated (first offense), drug possession (first offense), assault with bodily harm and domestic abuse (second offense). If you are convicted of a serious misdemeanor, you may owe a fine ranging from $315 to $1,875. You may also be required to serve as much as one year in a local jail.
Aggravated misdemeanors are the most serious misdemeanor charges in the state of Iowa. Some examples of crimes that usually result in aggravated misdemeanor charges include indecent exposure, prostitution, drug possession (second offense) and operating while intoxicated (second offense). If you are convicted of one of these crimes, you may be ordered to pay a fine ranging from $625 to $6,250. You may also have to spend a maximum of two years in a local jail.
Fighting Misdemeanor Charges
If you have been charged with any type of misdemeanor, you can take steps to avoid conviction. However, if you plan to fight the charge, you will need assistance from an experienced criminal defense attorney. If your fight is successful, you may be found not guilty of the charges against you, which means that you won’t face any of the penalties listed above.
In some cases, avoiding a conviction may not be possible. If you are not able to avoid a conviction, it is still a good idea to have an experienced attorney on your team who may be able to negotiate a lighter sentence for your conviction.
In the state of Iowa, getting a misdemeanor charge or conviction removed from your record is difficult. However, in some circumstances, the court may be willing to expunge your records if your case resulted in a dismissal or an acquittal. To qualify for expungement under these circumstances, you must also meet the following conditions:
- You must not have been found incompetent to stand trial.
- You must not have been found not guilty by reason of insanity.
- It must have been at least 180 days since the case was closed.
- You must have paid all financial obligations ordered by the court.
In addition, the court is sometimes willing to expunge records related to convictions for underage possession of alcohol, underage consumption of alcohol or public intoxication, as long as you haven’t had any new convictions for at least two years. The criminal defense attorneys of Hall & Wingert in Sioux City, Iowa, will work hard to help you avoid a conviction; but our job doesn’t stop there — in many cases we have been able to achieve expungement for a client who meets the requirements of the statute.