Misdemeanors Have Major Consequences
Many people brush off a misdemeanor offense as minor, but the truth is misdemeanor convictions have major consequences. A misdemeanor is a serious charge that is punishable by jail time.
Usually, individuals convicted of misdemeanors are ordered to pay hefty court fines, that low-income defendants often cannot pay. The failure to pay the court fines could result in even more jail time, as commented on the recent NPR series. A conviction can ruin a person’s job prospects. A conviction may affect the eligibility for professional licenses, child custody, food stamps, student loans, and may lead to deportation.
When someone convicted of a misdemeanor has served his or her time in jail and satisfied all of the other requirements, he or she still has a misdemeanor that follows them around. This conviction will not simply disappear from your record. You have to take action to have it removed, and some misdemeanors are not eligible for expungement.
Misdemeanors aren’t reported much in the news, because society focuses on felonies. However, misdemeanors are much more common than felonies. In most states, misdemeanor court dockets are four or five times the size of felony dockets. Due to the sheer volume of misdemeanor charges, defendants often feel pressure to plead guilty, without knowing their rights, or what they can do to fight the charge.
Because of the major consequences a misdemeanor conviction can have on your life and family, you should take them seriously. Give misdemeanors their due, and contact an attorney to help you understand the options.