Being convicted of a misdemeanor is a serious matter. Punishments can include lengthy prison sentences and the conviction will stay on your criminal record. Any legal matters that require appearances in court should not be handled lightly, but especially not a criminal charge. Attempting to resolve a criminal case against yourself can be risky. If you are trying to have a misdemeanor charge dropped, think carefully about the method you choose.
Seek an alternative disposition, if one exists. Alternative dispositions allow first time offenders to avoid normally prescribed punishments if they adhere to a set of requirements ordered by the court. For instance, Massachusetts allows individuals accused of drunk driving for the first time to avoid avoid a longer license suspension and possible prison time if they attend alcohol awareness classes, pay the necessary fines and complete probation. Research the crime you're accused of committing to determine if an alternative disposition exists. You'll be afforded an opportunity to speak to the prosecutor following your pretrial conference. Ask her to charge you according to the alternative disposition.
Seek a plea deal. Prosecuting a case through trial is an expensive and time consuming affair for courts. For this reason, prosecutors often seek to reduce their caseloads by offering plea deals to certain offenders. You may be able to obtain a plea deal if you've done research and know that your case will be difficult to prove, or if you are accused of committing a non-violent crime. For instance, you may be able to ask the prosecutor for a period of probation in exchange for a dismissal at completion.
Read More: How to Get a Felony Charge Dropped Down to a Misdemeanor
Hire a lawyer. Lawyers understand the nuances of the law and court procedures. They work with prosecutors and judges. Unless you've attended law school and passed a bar exam, a lawyer is much more likely to secure a dismissal than you will be. You could even choose to represent yourself and hire a lawyer to act as a consultant.
Charles Hayward has been writing professionally since 2010, covering local government, schools and the occasional sporting event. He earned a Bachelor of Arts from Hampshire College, where his multidisciplinary studies included coursework in the social sciences and humanities.