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Defense For Misdemeanor Charges

Washington state classifies crimes into misdemeanors and felonies. Misdemeanors are further divided into two classifications: Gross misdemeanors and simple misdemeanors. A simple misdemeanor criminal conviction carries a maximum penalty of 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine. A gross misdemeanor criminal conviction carries a maximum penalty of 364 days in jail and a $5,000 fine. The maximum penalty does not indicate you will serve the full 90 days or 364 days in jail; it merely prevents the judge from imposing a penalty over that amount. Only upon conviction of either misdemeanor crime can a judge impose jail and a fine as terms to a sentence.

A conviction of either misdemeanor classification can also include probation and various lifestyle restrictions. Misdemeanor probation can last up to five years. The judge can impose the following probation conditions depending upon the crime you are convicted of or the alleged facts of the crime:

  • Do not commit any new criminal law violations
  • Do not consume alcohol or nonprescribed drugs
  • Do not operate a motor vehicle without valid driver license and insurance
  • Seek substance abuse evaluation and follow through upon prescribed treatment
  • No contact order
  • Perform community service
  • Attend driver education courses
  • Forfeit your right to bear arms

The Washington Legislature has determined that some misdemeanor crimes require mandatory penalties. Upon criminal conviction of those misdemeanors, you will be incarcerated in a jail facility, you will lose your driving privilege or you will pay a fine. Even though you are charged with a misdemeanor crime, it is imperative you contact an experienced attorney to protect your legal rights and freedom.