What is a Misdemeanor?

Misdemeanors are crimes that are punishable by up to one year in jail. Although a misdemeanor offense carries a lighter penalty than a felony, which is a crime punishable by more than one year in jail, that penalty can have long-lasting negative consequences. One year in the county jail means a year away from your family, a year of lost income, and a jail sentence on your permanent record, which can be devastating to your future career and financial opportunities.

Upon arrest or receiving a Notice to Appear, it is imperative that you immediately hire an experienced criminal defense attorney to represent you. A skilled attorney can oftentimes make the difference between having your case filed as a misdemeanor rather than a felony – and can guide you to a less severe outcome.

Why should I hire the Misdemeanor Clinic, P.A.?

Too often, misdemeanor clients get lost in the shuffle at a busy criminal law firm, typically puts felony clients first due to the severity of the consequences and higher fees. With over ten years of experience in all areas of criminal defense, Michelle Merson, Esq. has chosen to focus her practice solely on misdemeanors because she believes that misdemeanors should be defended with the same vigor and skill as a felony.

“The consequences of a conviction, whether a felony or a misdemeanor, will follow you for the rest of your life,” Michelle says. “If you have been charged with a misdemeanor, you are entitled to have your matter handled with expertise, high priority, and special attention.”

Getting arrested or receiving a Notice to Appear can be terrifying for those charged and their loved ones, especially if it is their first offense. Handling what comes next requires an attorney who is experienced, compassionate, and able to provide you with personalized attention. Michelle will take the time to explain the criminal justice system and the required steps to bring the matter to a positive resolution.

“Often, those charged with a misdemeanor are first-time offenders and need more time with an attorney who can explain everything involved,” Michelle says.“I am happy to spend this time with my clients; they truly become like family to me.”

Over the years clients have found Michelle to be a caring, compassionate, and knowledgeable legal guide who is extremely responsive to any questions and concerns. She is committed to being available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and strives for same-day call back.

Important information about expunging or sealing your case

While many criminal cases can be brought to a desirable resolution, a favorable outcome does not remove the arrest from your record. An arrest in your permanent record can cause just as many – if not more – problems as the original charges. Expungement, or sealing, offers an alternative to an arrest haunting you for the rest of your life and causing stress and worry every time you agree to a background check or fill out an application.

Without an expungement or seal, when completing applications for jobs, apartments, loans, colleges, professional schools, and agencies, you must answer “Yes” when asked if you have ever been arrested. After your record is expunged or sealed, you can legally answer “No” on these applications. It is vital to have your case resolved in a manner that offers the option of expungement or sealing.

Requesting an expungement or seal is a complicated process that should only be attempted by an attorney experienced in this area. The many steps involved in an expungement/sealing process involve the State Attorney’s Office, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, and the judge assigned to your case. You can only expunge or seal an arrest once in a lifetime, so hiring an experienced attorney is very important. An expungement of your record will have the effect of “erasing” the record, as if nothing ever happened, giving you a fresh start to move on with your life without impediments and fear. A seal of your record has the effect of hiding your record, but the record remains available in certain circumstances.