criminal mischief 4th degree. After initial court appearance have to go back again.

Will the county attorney make offer if I plead guilty? Will I probably get a fine only since it’s my first offense? I cannot afford a lawyer but I make over 10,000 a year so they will not appoint a lawyer for me. Will I be ok without a lawyer? I am scared….Amanda

Asked on May 27, 2009 under Criminal Law, Iowa

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Under Iowa law, criminal mischief in the fourth degree is considered to be a "serious misdemeanor"; any offense defined as a serious misdemeanor is punishable by up to 1 year in jail and a fine of $315 to $1,875.

Obviously any deal is better than the maximum; however you still could end of with a criminal record.

You should really try to hire a lawyer.  If you absolutely can't and you don't qualify for a public defender, try legal aid.  I don't know if they have the same income requirements as the PD's office.

If worse comes to worse, you could handle this yourself.  Since this is your first offense, what you want to try and arrange is for something called "diversion".  In other words, you will plead guilty, receive probation, and upon the successful completion of your probation the case will be dismissed.  By doing this you can later apply for an "expungement" to clear your record of your arrest.  You then will have a clean criminal record.

Note:  If you don't comply with all of the terms of your probation and violate it, then based on your previously entered guilty plea you would be subject to the maximum penalties for this offense.

Hope this helps.  Best of luck.

 

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