One of the first things that a person who is facing criminal charges wants to know is what kind of charge they are facing. Many people breathe a sigh of relief if they find out the charge is a misdemeanor. While it is true that a misdemeanor isn't as serious as a felony, these seemingly minor charges can have a significant impact on your life.
One thing that you should know is that you could be facing time in jail if you are convicted of a misdemeanor. The classification of the misdemeanor can determine how much time behind bars you might receive. Typically, a misdemeanor would be associated with no more than a year in jail. You would likely serve the time you are sentenced to in a local jail and not a prison since you typically have to be convicted of a felony to be sentenced to prison.
Even if you aren't facing time in jail, you could be facing significant fines. This could put you in a tough spot because there are cases in which a misdemeanor conviction would bar you from doing specific types of work. Some employers require their employees to have a clean criminal history, which isn't possible if you are convicted of any crime.
The sentences in misdemeanor cases can vary greatly when the charge isn't federal. For federal misdemeanors, the federal sentencing guidelines, which are very strict, come into the picture. This means that if your charge is a federal charge, you should work on your defense right away so that you have as much time as possible to prepare it.
Source: FindLaw, "Misdemeanors," accessed Nov. 17, 2016