What to Know About Misdemeanors

Updated: Dec 16, 2019

Misdemeanors are a common charge, and you may already know they're not as serious as felonies. But what crimes are considered misdemeanors, and what are the typical repercussions of this offense?

What is a misdemeanor?

Misdemeanors generally include illegal actions like driving under the influence, drug possession, theft, burglary, trespassing and disorderly conduct. As opposed to felonies (crimes like murder, kidnapping, arson, etc.), the sentence for a misdemeanor charge often includes a smaller fine, less than a year in jail, community service and/or probation.

The punishment and types of crimes considered misdemeanors vary from state to state, and depending on the circumstances, misdemeanor charges can sometimes escalate to felony charges.

What are the repercussions?

Having a criminal record can sometimes hurt your chances of getting a job or finding a place to live. The good news is that many misdemeanors can be expunged from your record. Expungement is a legal process that can seal, dismiss, erase or set aside a conviction. In some states, juvenile convictions are automatically expunged once the person turns 18. 

Having your record expunged can be complicated and often necessitates a waiting period, fulfilling the terms of the original sentence, completing your probation without any incidents and having no current charges pending. Knowledge of the law and attention to detail are key, thus hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney to navigate the judicial system on your behalf is highly recommended.

Not all misdemeanors can be expunged, but it's an option worth exploring if you or someone you know is dealing with a misdemeanor charge. 

Have questions about this or another legal matter? Reach out today.


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