Should I hire an attorney if I was charged with disorderly conduct?

It’s a long story but basically I tried to hop the fence to get into a concert venue. Security saw and caught me and sent me to the police. I got cited with a disorderly conduct and a $130 fine. This is my first criminal offence. Should I pay the fine and be done with it, or hire an attorney and try to get this off my permanent record?

Asked on August 12, 2015 under Criminal Law, Ohio

Answers:

B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

This is certainly not the crime of the century and it's only a $130 fine... so many people simply pay and seek no further representation.  However, many people don't realize that any criminal record can affect some career paths.

Before you enter into any pleas, make sure that you at least consult with an attorney to make sure that you aren't hindering any career options for yourself--which will be more costly than $130 in the future.  For example, if you are in a career field or are thinking about going into a career field that is regulated by any governmental agencies, you need to make sure that your licensing won't be affected by a plea to the offense.  If you are currently in school, you don't want a charge to affect any of your current or future scholarship programs.

If a finding of guilty would affect your career or school goals, then you do want an attorney to assist you with a better deal.  Some jurisdictions will allow you to "earn" a dismissal by the completion of community service hours.  It might take more work than cutting a check for a fine, but it will help you clear your record for your future. 


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