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Misdemeanors are perhaps the most misunderstood type of criminal charges. In Florida, these types of crimes include a wide variety of misdeeds, including things like DUI, marijuana possession, simple assault/battery, theft, disorderly, ticket scalping and much more. Unfortunately, ignorance on this topic can have severely damaging ramifications.

Below we have outlined three of the most common—and most harmful—misconceptions that many people have about misdemeanors. If you have questions or would like to learn more, be sure to contact the Law Offices of Sabrina Puglisi today.

Misconception #1 – Misdemeanors are minor offenses

By far the single most damaging misconception about misdemeanors is that they are not a big deal. Misdemeanors are lesser offenses than felonies, certainly, but that does not mean that they are not serious. A misdemeanor conviction is still a criminal conviction, and having a criminal conviction on your record, no matter how “minor” you think it was, is going to cause you serious harm in both the short term and long term. You could face costly fines, jail time (as we will discuss in a moment), and irreparable harm to your reputation.

Imagine you are in the midst of making a major business deal at some point in the future and the other party decides to look into your background. What do you think is going to happen if he or she finds a misdemeanor criminal conviction? Misdemeanors can have severe and far-reaching consequences, and if you are facing misdemeanor charges it is essential that you utilize a skilled defense attorney who can help you minimize or even avoid the potential damage.

Misconception #2 – Misdemeanors won’t show up on a background check

This misconception is likely a symptom of the larger problem—that people seem to think that misdemeanors are not very serious. Some people are under the mistaken belief that only felonies will show up on a criminal background check, which is completely untrue. With the exception of rare situations allowing you to seal your record or expunge the charges, a misdemeanor criminal conviction is going to stay on your record forever. This could have a damaging impact on your job prospects or anything else that requires a background check.

Misconception #3 – Misdemeanors will not result in jail time

The final major misconception about misdemeanors is that they will only result in fines and perhaps probation or some other relatively “minor” punishment. In fact, the simplest of misdemeanors could conceivably result in jail time, and if you have prior convictions on your record the likelihood of spending time in jail will only increase. In Florida, a Second Degree misdemeanor can result in up to 60 days in jail. The more serious First Degree misdemeanor offenses can result in up to one year in jail.

Clearly, it is essential that you take any and all criminal charges very seriously. Even the lowest level misdemeanor conviction can have severe consequences and a damaging impact that can last for the rest of your life. If you have been charged with any type of crime, you must enlist the services of a skilled criminal defense attorney who will fight to help you protect your future. Contact the Law Offices of Sabrina Puglisi today to learn how we can help.