If I have been charged with a misdemeanor, do I need to hire a lawyer?

Question Details:I have been charged with a misdemeanor for a harassing phone call and do not know what the possible worst consequences are on the case? And also, if I need a lawyer, what kind of money is involved?

Asked 5 years ago under Criminal Defense | 2543 Views | More Legal Topics

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Damon Chetson | The Chetson Firm, PLLC Answered 5 years ago This Raleigh, NC attorney is licensed in North Carolina

Not quite sure what the charge is. Is it a harassing phone call under 14-196? Is it stalking?  Or is it communicating threats? Or some other crime? Stalking is a Class A1 misdemeanor.  If it's a Stalking, the judge could sentence you to active time even if you're a first time offender (meaning, no prior convictions).

Harassing phone call?  Class 2 misdemeanor.  If you've got no prior convictions, then the most you could get would be community punishment (unsupervised probation, community service, fines, etc.)

Communicating threats?  Class 1 misdemeanor.  If no prior convictions, then you could only get community punishment but with a slightly longer suspended sentence than the Class 2.

Stalking? Class A1 misdemeanor.  If no prior convictions, then you could everything from community service, or an active jail sentence.

Cost? If in Raleigh, anything from $1,500 to $3,000.  You definitely want a lawyer.

J.M.A., Member in Good Standing of the Connecticut Bar | FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney Answered 5 years ago

Lawyer's fees vary on a state to state basis.  Most fees however are determined by the seriousness of the charge and the amount of time the lawyers predicts it will take to resolve the matter.  Most lawyers charge a flat fee for criminal work as opposed to an hourly fee structure for civil matters.  in your case, you have been charged with a misdemeanor.  this is not a serious charge but nonetheless, exposes you to jail time.  i think that the legal fees in this case will be $2000-$2500 as it will require at least 2 trips to court and time speaking to the state's attorney.  You should however, shop around for lawyers.  most lawyers will meet with you for free the first time.

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