Criminal offenses are divided into misdemeanors and felonies in Massachusetts, the latter of which are typically more serious and carry more severe penalties. While misdemeanors are less severe in our state, they can still result in undesirable consequences. In some cases, it may be possible to have a misdemeanor offense reduced and converted to a civil infraction, which is not a criminal offense and therefore will not result in criminal penalties. To learn more about converting your criminal offense to a civil infraction in our state, as well as the value of an experienced Massachusetts criminal defense attorney in doing so, call The Law Offices of Paul R. Moraski today.
Why Would a Civil Conversion Be Beneficial?
There are numerous reasons why converting your misdemeanor offense to a civil infraction may be beneficial. These reasons include:
- A misdemeanor offense is a crime; a civil infraction is not
- Because a civil infraction is not a crime, there are no criminal penalties
- Being convicted of a misdemeanor not only results in criminal penalties, but could also impact your ability to get a job, secure housing, pursue education, etc.
- A civil infraction will not show up on your criminal record
What Makes a Case Eligible for a Civil Conversion?
Not all misdemeanor offenses can be converted to civil infractions, so it’s important to discuss your options for your specific case with your attorney. While an attorney can file a motion on your behalf to treat your violation of a municipal ordinance, bylaw, or misdemeanor as a civil infraction, some crimes are not eligible for this, including hit-and-run crimes, operating under the influence crimes that result in serious injuries, restraining order violations, certain juvenile offenses, perjury, crimes against persons, and others. Typically, those misdemeanor offenses that are eligible for civil conversion include minor shoplifting crimes (involving property valued at under $250), minor drug crimes, motor vehicle offenses, and operating under the influence crimes that do not result in bodily injury or property damage.
Legal Actions to Take if You’re Facing a Misdemeanor Charge in Massachusetts
If you have been charged with a misdemeanor crime in Massachusetts, the first thing that you should do is to hire an experienced attorney as soon as possible. An attorney will review your case and can provide information about the viability of converting your case to a civil infraction. In the event that this is not possible, your attorney can represent your best interests during your criminal case and help to build your defense.
Call Our Skilled Criminal Defense Attorney Today
At the Law Offices of Paul R. Moraski, our criminal defense attorney has years of experience working on misdemeanor and felony criminal cases in Massachusetts. If you or a loved one have been charged with a crime, call our lawyer immediately at (978) 397-0011 for the legal assistance you need and deserve.