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Not Just a Slap on the Wrist: Why Misdemeanor Convictions Matter

Brian J Smith June 4, 2014

When we think of the term “convicted criminal” we usually think of individuals convicted of felony charges. Most of us understand that being convicted of a felony charge means serious long term consequences that can affect employment opportunities, 2nd amendment rights, and even housing options. But many of us are unaware that misdemeanor convictions can inflict the same, if not worse, long term consequences.

Photo courtesy of: marsmet tallahassee

It’s a common misconception to think that a misdemeanor charge is a mere “slap on the wrist” or that a conviction without jail time does not carry long term consequences. The truth is that misdemeanor convictions can interfere with everything from employment to citizenship, loans, housing, and even access to financial aid and education.

Research has shown that the majority of misdemeanor charges stem from minor, non-violent crimes such as failing to pay parking tickets, possession of small amounts of drugs, or driving with a suspended license. However, the resulting consequences following a conviction can often last a lifetime. What is even more troubling is the fact that misdemeanor convictions are often moredifficult to expunge or seal, since resources and legislation initiatives are aimed at pardoning non-violent crimes are often primarily geared toward felony charges.

As a result, individuals convicted of misdemeanor crimes often fall through the cracks, and find themselves caught in a never-ending cycle. To complicate matters further, prosecutors often take advantage of the fact that misdemeanors are believed to carry only short term consequences in order to get defendants to voluntarily waive their rights or plead guilty.

Often times, the only thing standing between you and a criminal record is your defense attorney. That’s why it’s so important to contact an attorney any time you face criminal charges, no matter how minor they may seem.

To learn more about your options for fighting criminal charges, or expunging past convictions, contact Las Vegas criminal defense attorney, Brian J. Smith at (702) 380-8248 to discuss your case today.

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