7 Common Myths and Misconceptions About Misdemeanors

You’ve been charged with a misdemeanor, but your friends advise you not to fight it. “It’s nothing,” they insist. “It’s not like you’re being charged with a felony.”

But they couldn’t be more wrong. Yes, misdemeanors and felonies are different offense categories, with the latter being considered more serious and punished more harshly. But a misdemeanor is far from ‘nothing.’ It can have a negative impact on your life, both at present and long afterwards. And when you are the person who is charged with the crime, it is the most important thing in your life. It can have an effect on your employment, your ability to get admitted to college or graduate school, and your state of mind.

Below is a list of five common myths and misconceptions about misdemeanors, many of which may surprise you.

Myth No. 1: Misdemeanors are minor offenses

While misdemeanors are not in the same category as a felony, it’s a serious mistake to assume that they are insignificant. When you are convicted of a misdemeanor, the crime could harm your future prospects no matter how minor or harmless you think your actions may have been.

Myth No. 2: You won’t go to jail for a misdemeanor

Not so fast. Maybe you won’t get the same sentence as a first-degree murderer, but you can still be incarcerated. If, for example, you are charged with simple battery, it is a first degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail, and a fine of up to $1,000. If not handled properly, you could find yourself in jeopardy of spending time in the county jail. Multiple misdemeanor offenses could also result in you being sent to jail for a crime otherwise punished by a fine alone.

Myth No. 3: Misdemeanors won’t harm your employment prospects

The reality is that any kind of criminal record can hurt your career prospects. Most employers run background checks on applicants and if you were convicted of a crime, no matter how ‘minor,’ you could lose the opportunity to someone with a clean record. These days, it can be difficult enough to get a good job without a criminal record complicating matters.

If you are a licensed professional – a doctor, lawyer, realtor, accountant or physical therapist, just to name a few – you may have to report a misdemeanor conviction to your licensing board. This can result in disciplinary action against your license which can affect your job.

Myth No. 4: Misdemeanors won’t prevent you from going to college

Most colleges will ask you about any criminal history on the application form. While they may not regard a misdemeanor offense with the same gravity as a felony conviction, you may be denied admission. And if you have been convicted of a misdemeanor involving drugs, you may not be eligible to receive federal grants or loans.

Myth No. 5: Misdemeanors won’t appear on background checks

Many people assume that a misdemeanor conviction is not serious enough to appear on a background check. The reality is that if you are convicted of a misdemeanor, you have a criminal record even if the punishment was a minor fine. In most instances, that conviction will remain on your record for life, accessible to anyone who does a background check on you.

If you have been charged with a misdemeanor, don’t take it lightly. Contact the Law Offices of Barry M. Wax today. A conviction could have an adverse impact on the rest of your life, so it is important to enlist the help of a skilled criminal defense attorney to protect both your freedom and your future.

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Written by Law Offices of Barry M. Wax

Law Offices of Barry M. Wax

For 32 years, I have provided both State- and Federal-Level representation for those facing charges ranging from wire fraud, mortgage fraud, and healthcare fraud to identity theft, drug trafficking, money laundering, murder, DUI, domestic violence and numerous other criminal charges. In every case, it is my commitment to one-on-one service and support that has separated the Law Offices of Barry M. Wax from other criminal defense firms. When it comes to your future, you need a strong defense and the ability to make the right choices and regain control of your life.