Class A Misdemeanors- federal offenses with a possibility of more than six months in custody, are administered by the District Court. Class A Misdemeanors include most DUIs, some assaults, simple possession of drugs (for personal use), and petty thefts. These cases will be tried before a U.S. District Court Judge, unless you consent, as is most often the case, to have a magistrate judge handle the case. Once the prosecutor files a charge in your case, the clerk will summons you to appear in court. Subject to income limits, all Class A misdemeanor cases are eligible to have an attorney appointed to you by the court. This would happen at the time of your initial appearance.
Those charged with Class A Misdemeanors usually plead not guilty at their initial appearance. The court then sets a trial date. Few cases actually go to trial as the parties are often able to reach a deal that avoids taking the case to trial. Most people are released by the court pending their trial date in return for just their promise to appear on their trial date. In some cases, the court may impose conditions of release, including drug or alcohol testing. In very rare cases, people are detained pending trial or disposition of their charges. Following their initial appearance, most charged with Class A misdemeanors choose to be represented by appointed or hired counsel.
Should you need to reschedule an initial appearance, or require additional information about your case, please call our office.