The High Cost of a Misdemeanor


Millions of Americans are charged with non-felony crimes each year, from trespass to domestic violence to marijuana. A recent report examines how to better mitigate the financial and human costs of these cases.

The National Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys examined Florida’s misdemeanor courts and states they “consistently sacrific[e] due process for case- processing speed.” According to “Three-Minute Justice: Haste and Waste in Florida’s Misdemeanor Courts” of the cases researchers witnessed, 70 percent pled guilty and their cases were resolved at arraignment, and fewer than 50 percent had counsel.

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