While a misdemeanor is not as serious as a felony, it can still change your life significantly. A conviction has the potential to result in time in prison or heavy fines, but what isn’t talked about is the potential for long-term consequences socially. You may find it harder to find a place to live or be unable to work at any local jobs. Here are some reasons to seek out a strong defense if you’ve been charged with a misdemeanor.
You could face federal or state consequences
Although your crime may have been minor, the penalties just keep coming. State and federal law allows potentially hundreds of consequences to affect you. These consequences range from being unable to seek a license in a field of study to making it harder to get a loan when it’s needed most. In total, there are at least 45,000 potential consequences for those who have been convicted of a misdemeanor, and you could be affected by hundreds depending on your exact location.
Employers could turn you away
Employers have a responsibility to maintain a safe work environment for their employees. It’s possible that they could turn you down to prevent any unsafe influences, even if your crime had nothing to do with the job you’re applying for or shows no sign of you being violent or dangerous. Yes, even if you go to school and get a degree, the misdemeanor from your late teens could still affect your ability to move on with your life.
Your ability to rent can be influenced
While the failure to drive with a license or having drugs on hand can be bad, the misdemeanor you plead for can be worse. When landlords look at applications, some have strict requirements that the applicant has no criminal background. This can make it hard for you to get a new home after serving a prison sentence or even decades later after many years of positive work and credit history.
The only real way to eliminate a misdemeanor from your record is to seek a Presidential pardon, which is unfortunately difficult to receive. Taking the time to defend yourself before a conviction is the better option.