What Is A Misdemeanor And How Does It Affect You Long-Term

Some people don't understand the seriousness of being arrested, especially if the charges are minor. However, anytime you're arrested, you need to consider it a serious situation. Sure, felony convictions are way worse than misdemeanor charges, but a misdemeanor charge can also affect your life long-term. Learn more about what misdemeanors are and how even a single charge can affect your future.

What Crimes Are Considered Misdemeanors?

Crimes are divided into three separate offense levels: an infraction, a misdemeanor, and a felony. Crimes that the court deems as misdemeanor offenses are crimes that are a little too bad for the accused to get a simple slap on the wrist, a fine, or a ticket, but not seriously enough to be considered a felony, which typically requires a more extreme prison sentence. Now, this doesn't mean that you won't have to spend any time in jail if you're charged with a crime that's considered a misdemeanor. Your sentence could still include a small amount of jail time, or you'll be allowed to serve your jail time in a county jail or low-security prison. The good news is, if you're charged with a misdemeanor and you don't have any prior offences, there's a good chance your criminal lawyer could negotiate a plea deal for you that puts you on house arrest or probation instead of sending you to jail. Regardless of your sentence, there's a good chance you'll be responsible for paying court costs and fines, and depending on your offence, you might be required to take court ordered classes or therapy.

Looking for Employment

Most people understand that a felony conviction really limits their job options. However, what they don't realize is that a misdemeanor offense can affect your future employment options as well. Misdemeanor convictions do show up on background checks, but depending on the conviction type, a misdemeanor may not automatically eliminate you from a company's list of potential job candidates. However, even if you do find an employer who is willing to hire a person with a misdemeanor conviction, that employer is more likely to choose a candidate with a clean record over you. So, you might not realize it, but a misdemeanor charge can keep you from landing positions that you really want.

The fact is, it's a lot worse to have a felony charge on your record than it is to have a misdemeanor, but don't assume that a misdemeanor charge won't affect your future. If you do end up in jail, contact a criminal law attorney immediately to see if the case can be dropped. If not, you lawyer can hopefully have any higher charges dropped to misdemeanors. Contact a firm like Novak Lee Atty At Law for more info.