In today’s society, many people still don’t view misdemeanors as a big deal. While they aren’t as serious as felonies, they still are considered a crime and can negatively affect a person’s life in many ways. If you’ve been charged with a misdemeanor, you should consult an experienced criminal lawyer as soon as possible to begin building your case.
Here are some of the most common myths about misdemeanors.
Misdemeanors Are Minor Offenses
One of the biggest misconceptions people have about misdemeanors is that they’re minor and won’t affect your life. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. Misdemeanors aren’t in the same category as felonies, but they shouldn’t be taken lightly. They’re still crimes and will affect your life for years to come.
Misdemeanors Don’t Show Up on Background Checks
Many people also mistakenly assume that only felonies show up on background checks. They don’t believe misdemeanors are serious enough to appear on background checks. The truth of the matter is, however, that misdemeanors do show up on criminal background checks, even if you served no jail time. Anyone who conducts a background check on you — whether it’s an employer or landlord — will be able to see the misdemeanor.
Employers Don’t Care About Misdemeanors
While employers might not consider misdemeanors as serious as felonies, they don’t completely dismiss them. Whether or not they decide to hire you will depend on the profession and type of misdemeanor you were convicted of. For example, if you’re applying for a teller position at a bank, a shoplifting misdemeanor may hurt your prospects.
You Won’t Go to Jail
Although you likely won’t receive a jail sentence for a misdemeanor, it’s still a possibility. A misdemeanor is punishable by up to one year in jail. Whether or not a judge gives you a jail sentence depends on several factors, such as the seriousness of the misdemeanor and your past criminal record. For example, if you have been convicted of several shoplifting misdemeanors in the past, a judge may decide to sentence you to jail.
You Should Just Plead Guilty to a Misdemeanor Charge
Because they assume misdemeanors are no big deal, some people plead guilty to misdemeanor charges right away to get the process over with. However, you shouldn’t plead guilty to a charge unless your lawyer has advised you to do so.
If you were charged with a misdemeanor, you should speak to a reputable criminal defense lawyer, like a criminal defense lawyer in Rockville, MD, as soon as possible. He or she can review your case and advise you of your legal options.
Thanks to the Law Office of Daniel J. Wright for their insight into some of the most common myths about misdemeanors.