As in the title, I have never been arrested before prior to this. I was arrested for loitering and marked for second degree misdemeanor. I bonded out, but have no idea where this will go from here. I am mainly seeking to know if I will 100% have to go to court, and if so, what are the types of sentencing that I could possibly receive. I am highly seeking not having to spend time in jail, but I don't know what the likelihood of such outcome would be.
There is certainly the possibility that you will have to go to court. This all depends on whether the Prosecutor files criminal charges against you. If the Prosecutor does, then you will have to go to court. If the Prosecutor a decides to charge you with what you were arrested for, you would be facing a second degree misdemeanor. A second degree misdemeanor exposes you to a maximum sentence of 60 days in jail; 6 months of probation; or up to $500 in fines. Given this is your first offense, you may be eligible for a diversion program where if you complete certain conditions, the State will drop your case. Also, given this is your first offense, I don't suspect you will be offered jail time to resolve your case. But, I do not know the particular facts of your case. It would be best to contact an attorney.
Please understand that any information provided to you by Joseph A. Matera II is not to be construed or confused as legal advice. It is not. Additionally, no attorney-client relationship exists between the questioner and Joseph A. Matera II by Joseph A. Matera II merely answering your question on Avvo.
2nd degree misdemeanors are punishable by 6 months in jail and a $500 fine.
That said, you have been charged with a crime, you face serious consequences that can effect the rest of your life and hiring a criminal defense lawyer is your best move.
You are free to do what you want but I urge you not to represent yourself. There is a solid reason for Abe Lincoln's age old quote that "he who represents himself has a fool for a client". Please do not be that fool.
My advise is firm: Hire a lawyer.
Wishing you luck and hoping that I have been helpful in answering your question.
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Hire a St. Petersburg area criminal defense lawyer. Do not attempt to handle this yourself. Your goal is to avoid conviction, also known as adjudication. Hire a lawyer. Do not accept time served.
Once you hire an attorney, cooperate with him or her on either beating the charges if the State does indeed file charges. If so, there is a strong likelihood that you will be offered pre-trial diversion which is a program for most first time arrestees run by the State Attorney's Office. The State will drop the charges once you have successfully completed the pre-trial diversion program.
After your case is closed without a conviction from either the State Attorney's Office not filing charges, your lawyer beating the charge, your successful completion of a pre-trial diversion program or the State dropping the case after charges are filed on their own, then see about getting your record Sealed and Expunged. Ask your attorney about this process. Did I mention hiring a criminal defense attorney? I wish you well and hope my answer to your question is helpful.
I agree with the answers provided by my colleagues. It would be best to hire an attorney to guide you through this process and to advocate on your behalf.
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