Misdemeanors: More influence in your life than you may think

Misdemeanors: More influence in your life than you may think

If you’re being accused of a misdemeanor crime, you may not think
it’s that big of a deal. The crime itself wasn’t severe, so
that means your penalty won’t likely be either. Is that really the
case though? In fact, a misdemeanor can almost be worse than a felony
today, thanks to the way the court system is designed. A misdemeanor can
still influence your life in a few ways, and it’s important to defend
yourself to prevent this unfair complication from happening.

While the sentence given to you by the court after a trial may not seem
severe, the
consequences that happen socially are different and can be unpredictable. Fair punishment
may be necessary, but having years of complications from a one-time mistake
isn’t fair.

Unlike with felonies, there are fewer ways to remove misdemeanors from
your record. Even if you committed the crime many years ago, the black
mark on your criminal record can influence many aspects of your life.
It can affect your ability to obtain certain housing, access to loans,
and certain family rights. Your job could be affected, or you may find
it hard to get a job at all.

These consequences are known as collateral consequences, and there are
literally hundreds that could affect them. While the government is trying
to help prevent people from going to jail, it isn’t addressing the
impact of collateral consequences for those with misdemeanors. For some,
a presidential pardon would be the only way to expunge a misdemeanor,
something that’s unlikely to be available for those committing such
minor crimes.

Source: TIME, “A Misdemeanor Conviction Is Not a Big Deal, Right? Think Again,” Maya Rhodan, accessed June 23, 2016