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Entering a plea on a misdemeanor charge in Arizona

Misdemeanor charges require attention despite the fact that they aren't considered as serious as felony charges. There are many different types of crimes that are classified as misdemeanors in Arizona. These include DUI, possession of marijuana and underage drinking.

If you are charged with a misdemeanor crime, you will be given a citation that has a court date. You will have to appear in court at the appointed time on the specified date or you could face more criminal charges. The citation will also have other information about the charge, including the statute information that lets you know what you are being charged with violating.

When you go to that first court appearance, you will enter a plea. You have three options -- not guilty, guilty, or no contest. You should make sure that you understand what each of these means so that you can enter the plea that best describes your position on the charges you face.

There are some instances in which the judge who is overseeing the arraignments will offer you the chance to enter a diversion program. This is a chance to complete program requirements so that you won't have to face the misdemeanor charges you were charged with.

It's essential to learn about the possible penalties associated with your charges. There are three different classes of misdemeanors, which can involve possible time in jail ranging from up to 30 days to up to 6 months. Fines of up to $500 to $2,500 are also possible.

Make sure you know what you are facing prior to entering your plea.Your criminal defense attorney will provide you with needed advice.

Source: University of Arizona, "Surviving a Misdemeanor Charge," accessed May 05, 2016

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