When you hear the term misdemeanor, it doesn’t sound very intimidating. You might not think of a misdemeanor as a serious charge, but you’d be wrong. While not as serious as a felony, it holds more impact than an infraction and can create long-standing, negative consequences in your life. Misunderstanding and ignorance of the law won’t hold up as a defense in court, so understanding the common misconceptions surrounding misdemeanors is important.
Myth #1 – A Traffic Offense is a Minor Offense
Traffic offense arrests are the #1 most common reason for ICE detention. People tend to think of traffic offenses as insignificant. Some traffic offenses are misdemeanors and you can get arrested for them. A criminal conviction of any type can have a big impact on your future, despite how minor the action. Some have mandatory sentence conditions.
Myth #2 – There’s No Jail Time for a Misdemeanor
Any offense that leads to a jail sentence can have immigration consequences. While some judges will let you off with a fine, misdemeanor convictions can also result in potential jail time. In Georgia, you could be facing $300 to $5,000 in fines and up to one year in jail for any misdemeanor. You may also be facing other penalties such as losing your driving privileges, which is huge if you have a job that requires a CDL license.
Myth #3 – Background Checks Don’t Show Misdemeanor Convictions
Misdemeanors can show up on a background check whether you went to jail for the offense or not. Multiple driving without a license convictions and DUI arrests have a huge impact on your record. Convictions that have not been or cannot be expunged will stay on your record permanently.
Myth #4 – Misdemeanors Won’t Affect Your Job Search
This is definitely not true. As mentioned above, a misdemeanor conviction creates an official criminal record that can be accessed by any employer doing a background check. If the position comes down to you and an equal candidate with no criminal background, a criminal conviction could make you a less attractive candidate for the position.
A misdemeanor can have major negative impacts on your life and livelihood. The best protection is a good defense to avoid conviction. The attorneys at LaGrone Law have worked with many clients in your situation. Contact Attorney Mel to discuss your best defense strategy.