What is a misdemeanor?

A misdemeanor is a crime that is punishable by less than one year in jail.

Many people think of misdemeanors as “petty crimes.” As a general rule, misdemeanor crimes are not considered as serious as felony offenses. However, some types of misdemeanor charges can have similar consequences. For instance, it is a misdemeanor to possess under 20 grams of marijuana. But pleading out to a misdemeanor marijuana charge can suspend your license for two years, disqualify you from financial aid, and prevent you from obtaining certain professional licenses. Petit theft charges are crimes of dishonesty and can disqualify you from certain jobs.

If you enter a plea to some types of misdemeanors, such as battery, petit theft or driving on a suspended license multiple times, it is possible the State can use it against you and file the charge as a felony instead.

You should not accept a plea offer from the State or confess to a crime simply because it is a misdemeanor. Before you enter a plea to any misdemeanor it is important that you speak with an attorney. An attorney can fully explain the consequences of your plea. An attorney can also determine if you have any defenses to the charge. That way you can protect yourself from any unexpected outcomes.

Posted in: Misdemeanor