Do I need a lawyer if I have been charged with a misdemeanor?

I received a summons for “abusive language to another”, a Class 3 misdemeanor, after an incident with a neighbor. She came to my home and threatened me several times. I called the police and filed a report, to be sure it was on record in case something else happened. Now I must appear in court because as she was threatening me I cursed at her. I have 6 witnesses to the incident. I am the mother of 3 and my husband in currently deployed with the military, I can’t risk going to jail over this. Should I speak with a criminal law attorney? I’m in Virginia Beach, VA.

Asked on November 2, 2011 under Criminal Law, Virginia


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

My suggestion to all that have been charged with a criminal offense is that he or she should consult with a criminal defense attorney about the charges. A criminal defense attorney has the experience and training to deal with a given situation where the lay person typically does not.

In your situation, one possible defense to the abusive language charge is your Constitutional Right of Freedom of Speech. Given the charge against you is a misdemeanor, you should speak with a criminal defense attorney about the upcoming court hearing.

Good luck.

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