Do I Need a Lawyer for a Suspended License Misdemeanor?

Written by James Hirby and Fact Checked by The Law Dictionary Staff  

Depending upon your past experiences, you're likely to find the ordeal of being arrested and booked for a crime to be nerve-wracking and humiliating. Regardless of whether you're guilty of the crime with which you've been charged, you could easily be made to feel violated and dehumanized during the course of your arrest. If you're forced to spend a night in jail before being released on bail, you might feel even worse. Depending upon the seriousness of the crime with which you've been charged, you might have to spend the entirety of your pre-arraignment period in jail. In this case, you'll have to face a number of serious and potentially terrifying hassles.

If you've been arrested for driving with a suspended license, you'll be charged with a misdemeanor. Fortunately, the bail for such an offense is not typically set at outrageous levels. You may be able to afford to post bail out of your own pocket. Alternatively, one of your friends or relatives might be able to cover this cost. Depending upon the exact dollar amount at which your bail is set, you might not even be able to find a willing bail bondsman.

Although driving with a suspended license typically has serious ramifications, individuals who are convicted of this crime usually aren't given prison sentences. Instead, the penalties for this type of crime involve fines, probation and ongoing license restrictions. In addition to the fact that you'll have a misdemeanor crime on your record, the most serious consequence of your suspended-license conviction is liable to be your continued inability to operate a motor vehicle in a legal fashion.

Depending upon the circumstances surrounding your arrest, you might be able to secure a reduction in your charges. In the past, courts in certain jurisdictions have reduced suspended-licensed convictions to petty misdemeanors or dismissed them completely. In other cases, these charges have been reduced to simple traffic infractions like speeding or failure to signal. If you have a clean criminal history and driving record, the judge who presides over your case may be more likely to exhibit leniency.

If you hire a lawyer, you'll have a far greater likelihood of securing a dismissal or reduction of your charges. In the end, you'll need to decide whether such an outcome is worth the cost of retaining a legal professional. Even for a relatively simple case, your lawyer is likely to cost $1,000 or more.

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