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4 Common Misdemeanor Misconceptions

Take a second and look up the word “misdemeanor” in a dictionary. Merriam-Webster defines it as “a crime that is not very serious.” Google explains that it is “minor wrongdoing.” These type of results are exactly what is wrong with the public perception surrounding misdemeanors.
A misdemeanor is a criminal offense that is considered to be less serious than a felony, but more serious than an infraction. And unfortunately, the common American’s understanding of misdemeanors is rife with misconceptions and misunderstandings. However, ignorance or misunderstanding of the law is almost never a viable defense against punishment, and your lack of knowledge regarding misdemeanors could land you in serious hot water with long-term, detrimental consequences.
In today’s blog we will outline four common misconceptions about misdemeanors. If you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact our legal team.
Misdemeanors are minor offenses
We have previously discussed at length the potential severity of criminal misdemeanor convictions in a blog which you can read by clicking here. The idea that misdemeanors are insignificant or minor is the overarching problem with most people’s understanding of such crimes. It is complete and utter nonsense to think that a misdemeanor is not a big deal. When you are convicted of a misdemeanor, the fact is, you are being convicted of a crime that could haunt you for the rest of your life, no matter how “minor” you think your actions were.
Misdemeanors won’t show up on background checks
This misconception is likely a direct result of the belief that misdemeanors are not a big deal. Some people believe that a misdemeanor conviction is not significant enough to show up on a background check. This is completely untrue. If you are convicted of a misdemeanor you officially have a criminal record, no matter what the consequences were. And in most cases, that misdemeanor will stay on your record for the rest of your life, accessible by anyone who wants to find the information and details of your arrest and conviction.
Misdemeanors won’t hurt your job prospects
Once again, this misconception is likely a symptom of the belief that misdemeanors are not particularly serious. However, any sort of criminal record has the very real potential to severely damage your job prospects. Most employers conduct background checks, and if an employer sees you were convicted of a crime—misdemeanor or not—they will likely be much more hesitant to hire you. It is already hard enough to get a job these days without having a criminal history. With all other things being equal between you and another candidate, do you think the employer will choose the person with a criminal record or the one with a clean record? To learn more about the career implications of a misdemeanor conviction, click here to check out our previous blog on the subject.
You won’t go to jail for a misdemeanor
This misconception has the potential to be extremely damaging. Not only can you face serious fines as a result of a misdemeanor conviction, you most certainly have the potential to face jail time as well. A Class C misdemeanor in South Carolina can result in incarceration for up to one year. Class B could result in jail time up to two years. If you are convicted of the most serious type of misdemeanor—Class A—you could lose up to three years of your life in jail. Multiple misdemeanor offenses could also result in incarceration for crimes that otherwise would have avoided jail time.
If you have been charged with a misdemeanor, it is vital that you enlist the services of a skilled criminal defense attorney. Misdemeanors are serious, and a conviction could affect your life for years to come. If you’ve been arrested in South Carolina, please contact the Greg McCollum Complete Legal Defense Team right away and let us go to work defending your freedom and your future.

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