Modeled after a similar court in San Diego, misdemeanor and infraction offenses can now be handled in what’s being called a “homeless court” in Pinellas County. The court is so named because the minor offenses seen there are often committed by transients who can’t afford to pay fines ordered by the court.
This article from the National Association of Counties reveals that it cost about $110 per day to detain someone in the county jail. This cost simply can’t be rationalized when dealing with offenses that aren’t serious to begin with. However, these largely homeless offenders were being held because they weren’t likely to return to court if discharged.
The new court will hear only minor offenses where there is no violence or victim involved. For the homeless, community service and other programs will take the place of unaffordable fines. The goal here is to resolve these minor cases quickly and effectively.
While any criminal charge should be taken seriously, misdemeanors are the less serious classification. Generally, these offenses carry a potential sentence of less than 1 year in jail and are largely taken care of with no jail time at all.
However, misdemeanor offenses can become more serious if you have a criminal history. A judge takes many things into consideration when sentencing, the offense is only one of these.
Whether you are facing misdemeanor marijuana possession charges or misdemeanor disorderly conduct charges, you need the assistance of an aggressive and experienced local defense attorney. Depending on the circumstances of your case, we may be able to work out a plea arrangement with the prosecution, negating the need for any jail time.
Contact me today for a consultation on your case. While not every county has a “homeless court” or a court dedicated to non serious misdemeanors, I can help make certain that you are treated fairly no matter where your case is heard.