You've been charged with a Nevada misdemeanor in Reno. You believe, correctly, that misdemeanors are generally less serious offenses than felonies. But if you believe that because it's “just” a misdemeanor you don't face the possibility of jail time, you are sadly mistaken.
While an experienced Reno, Nevada criminal defense attorney usually can help you avoid jail for a first or second-offense misdemeanor, the risk of winding up behind bars if convicted of a misdemeanor is very real.
Up to Six Months in Jail for Nevada Misdemeanors
The penalties Reno, Nevada judges may order for most Nevada misdemeanor convictions in are:
- Up to $1,000 in fines, and/or
- Up to six months in jail
The “jail” that you could be sentenced to is not the same as “prison.” Though those two terms are often used interchangeably, they refer to different types of correctional facilities. If a judge in Reno orders you incarcerated for a misdemeanor offense, you will serve your time in Washoe County Jail. If you're convicted of a Nevada felony, you will likely do your time in one of Nevada's state prisons, often far away from your home and family.
Nevada “Gross Misdemeanors” Can Lead to a Year in Jail
In addition to misdemeanors and felonies, Nevada has a third class of criminal offenses called “gross misdemeanors.” These crimes are considered less serious than felonies but carry greater penalties than regular misdemeanors. Examples of Nevada gross misdemeanors include:
- A first offense of open or gross lewdness
- A first offense of indecent exposure
- False imprisonment (as long as it was not committed by a prisoner, with a deadly weapon, or to avoid arrest)
- A second or subsequent offense of stalking
- A third conviction of possession of one oz. or less or marijuana
- Unlawful use of a hotel key
If you are found guilty of a Nevada gross misdemeanor, you face the possibility of:
- Up to $2,000 in fines, and/or
- Up to 364 days in a city or county jail
Even if you avoid jail time, a conviction for either a misdemeanor or gross misdemeanor in Reno can carry other consequences that can have a serious and negative impact on your life. You'll have a criminal record that can make it harder to obtain employment. If you're a non-citizen and your misdemeanor or gross misdemeanor is considered a “crime involving moral turpitude” in Nevada, you face the risk of deportation.
If you have been charged with either a Nevada misdemeanor or gross misdemeanor, the risk of jail time, heavy fines, and other penalties make it crucial that you speak with an experienced Reno, Nevada criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Please give us a call to discuss your situation.