When people think about a misdemeanor crime, they usually don’t think that they are as serious as a felony. That’s true. By definition, misdemeanors aren’t as serious.
In most states, you may be looking at fines up to $1,000, along with up to 90 days in jail. With felonies, you are facing several thousand dollars in fines and sometimes more. You could also spend a few months or years in jail, depending on your crime.
However, just because misdemeanors aren’t as serious, doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t worry about them. A misdemeanor conviction can change your life in ways that you can only imagine.
If you are convicted of a misdemeanor, you may be looking at the following changes to your life, including:
A change in the relationships in your life. Depending on your misdemeanor, you may lose the trust of your family and friends. More than one person lost their husband or wife while they were in jail. You may lose the privilege of seeing your children every day (or even on a schedule). The courts may decide that you don’t deserve to see them at all.
Your parents, family, and friends may look at you differently. Instead of being the good guy (or girl) that they used to look up to, they are now seeing someone who committed a crime and has to serve time.
You may not even have their support while you are going through your trial. They may push you away as soon as you are charged with a crime. Even if you aren’t convicted, they may still not be ready to stand by your side.
Changes to your job. If you have to spend a short time in jail, your job may not be there when you come out. This is especially true in some jobs.
Hospitals, schools, and many other employers can’t hire (or keep) employees who have been charged and convicted of a crime, no matter how little it may be.
Your home life may also change. If you were renting a place to live, you may not have a home to come to once you are released from jail.
Your landlord may not want to expose his or her other tenants to someone who has been convicted of a crime. If you own your own home, you may lose it while you are in jail. If you were staying with friends, they might not welcome you back home.
If you decide to start looking for a new place to live, you may have trouble finding someplace to go. Landlords are often leery of renting to those who just got out of jail or prison. For that reason, you may decide to buy a home instead. However, you may not be able to get a loan for one.
Though time in jail and fines may scare you, the truth is that a lot will change once you are convicted of a misdemeanor. Your friends and family may look at you differently. You may lose your spouse and children while you are in jail.
Many come out of jail with no place to go. Your landlord may kick you out. Many people lose their homes while they are in jail because they are unable to pay their mortgage. You could also lose your job, depending on the charges and what you do. Some employers can’t have convicted criminals working with their customers.
So, what can you do if you are charged with a misdemeanor? You shouldn’t go through this alone. Make sure that you talk to a lawyer as soon as you can. They will fight for you. You need someone on your side, especially if your family isn’t willing to stand beside you.