Should I worry about a misdemeanor charge?

On Behalf of | Apr 29, 2024 | Criminal Defense |

A criminal charge or conviction can majorly impact many areas of your life, but should you worry if the charge is “only” a misdemeanor? The answer is yes.

A misdemeanor in Florida means that you are charged with a minor offense. You might believe that this means you do not have anything to worry about, but a misdemeanor conviction can still have major consequences.

Degrees of misdemeanors in Florida

Misdemeanors are classified by degrees. Battery, disorderly conduct, marijuana possession and vandalism are examples of first-degree misdemeanors, while driving on a suspended license, simple assault and a first-time theft charge are examples of second-degree misdemeanors.

In addition to paying fines, penalties for first-degree misdemeanor offenses in Florida include jail time of up to one year. You can still face up to 60 days in jail for a second-degree misdemeanor conviction.

Additionally, there are several other penalties you may face such as probation or community service. Other penalties may be imposed if you are classified as a habitual misdemeanor offender.

Another important point to remember is that a misdemeanor stays on your record forever. Although expungement is an option, there are generally strict requirements to meet to qualify.

A misdemeanor will show up on a background check

A misdemeanor conviction on your record is going to haunt you for the rest of your life. If you apply for a job, for school, a professional license or anything else that involves a background check, the misdemeanor conviction is going to show up.

You could even be denied housing or a bank loan when your misdemeanor conviction comes up on a background check. Your reputation with family and friends can also be damaged when they learn you have a criminal background, whether the crime was a misdemeanor or a felony.

Overall, there are plenty of reasons why you should be worried about a misdemeanor charge. Therefore, it is important to act quickly when you are charged and put up an aggressive defense.