What Are Misdemeanor Charges And How Do They Affect Your Future?


Anytime you're arrested, you need to take it seriously. However, many people don't realize exactly how serious it is when they are charged with a misdemeanor. Yes, a felony conviction is worse than a misdemeanor charge, but both can have long-term effects on your life. Learn more about misdemeanors, and how a misdemeanor charge can affect your future.

What are Misdemeanors?

Misdemeanor convictions are convictions that fall between a felony and an infraction. This means that when you commit a crime that the court has deemed a misdemeanor offense, the crime that was committed needs a stronger punishment than a simple fine, but the crime isn't serious enough to require an extreme prison sentence. This doesn't mean that you won't spend any time in jail if you're convicted of a misdemeanor crime. Your sentence could include a short amount of jail time to be served in a low-security prison or county jail. However, if you don't have any prior offenses, your criminal defense attorney might be able to persuade the judge to sentence you to a stint of house arrest or probation. Regardless, you will most likely have to pay some sort of fine, along with court costs, and depending on the type of crime you committed, the court may require you to complete community service or a court-ordered class.

Finding a Job

Believe it or not, a misdemeanor conviction could limit your job options. Misdemeanor convictions, like felonies, do show up during criminal background checks. The good news is, there is a chance that having a misdemeanor conviction might not immediately eliminate you as a job candidate. There are employers that are willing to hire people with misdemeanor convictions. However, even if the employer is willing to hire someone who has a misdemeanor conviction on his or her record, chances are the employer is more likely to choose a candidate with a clean criminal record over someone who has been convicted of a crime.

Loss of Professional Licenses

If your work requires you to carry a professional license, being convicted of a misdemeanor could put your professional license in jeopardy. For example: if you work as a truck driver, you are required to carry a commercial driver's license (CDL). However, if you are arrested and convicted of a misdemeanor DUI charge, the court could revoke your CDLs as part of your sentence. Also, if you're in the process of pursuing a career that requires you to have a professional license, such as a real estate agent or registered nurse, you might not be eligible to obtain licensing at all if you have a misdemeanor conviction.

The fact is, it's worse to have a felony charge on your record than it is a misdemeanor, but that doesn't mean that a misdemeanor conviction won't affect you. If you're facing any sort of criminal charges, you need to consult a criminal defense attorney to determine how to proceed with your case and how the choices you make will affect your future.

Contact a legal office like The Law Office of James W. Winslow, P.C. for more information.


29 September 2015

take a lawyer to criminal court

Until marijuana is legalized in every state, there will be courtrooms filled with those who are deemed criminals for possessing and using it. If you have been charged with the possession and use of marijuana, you need an attorney. Having gone through this with my son, I know that the courts are not pleased with these charges and things don't always turn out well. This blog will show you several examples of what can happen if you go to court for criminal charges without having an attorney working on your side to protect your rights and reduce the consequences as much as possible.