If you get arrested for a Jacksonville misdemeanor case, the majority of the time, you will attend first appearance court at the Duval County Jail. At this hearing, the Duval County State Attorney’s Office will offer to settle your case with you in return for a plea of guilty or no contest (nolo contendere). This is know as a plea agreement. Many people that are charged with Jacksonville misdemeanor crimes accept this plea agreement without understanding the consequences. They enter a plea and are unaware of the future consequences. A criminal conviction can stop you from ever having your record seal. It can also affect your current and future employment opportunities. Depending upon the misdemeanor charge, you driver’s license could be suspended. (See Three Minute Justice in the Folio Weekly Jacksonville).
Before entering a plea of guilty or no contest to any crime, it is important to have legal representation for the Jacksonville misdemeanor crime. If you have already entered a plea to the Jacksonville misdemeanor charge, you may be able to withdraw your plea, but you have only 30 days to do so. You may also have a claim for relief under Florida Criminal Rules of Procedure 3.850. There is a two year time limit for a 3.50 motion, so it is important that you contact a Jacksonville Criminal Defense Lawyer as soon as possible, as time is of the essence and your ability to change the plea might be unavailable if you delay.