Do misdemeanors impact your life after sentencing?

Whether you're convicted of a misdemeanor or a felony, there are things that are going to change in your life. You may have a harder time getting a job, have to pay fines and deal with other penalties that are a result of societal expectations.

For instance, did you know that misdemeanor convictions lead to some of the same collateral consequences as felonies? With few ways to eliminate a misdemeanor from your record, the best option is to avoid one altogether.

What is the government doing about misdemeanors and their impact?

To start with, some courts now have alternative sentencing guidelines that could help you avoid a conviction on your record. For instance, drug courts may allow you to go through drug abuse counseling and treatment, to perform community service or to complete other tasks in exchange for the case being dismissed or dropped.

What's most shocking about a misdemeanor is that it's almost only possible to get it eliminated if you can seek a presidential pardon. This limits many, as they deal with misdemeanors that hold them back from obtaining federal funds for schooling. Many are unable to find jobs because they're not even considered. Some apply for jobs with the National Guard or other services, but they could be denied entry over the misdemeanor, even if it's for something so minor that it really has no impact on the individual's life at this point.

A misdemeanor could change your life forever. If you're faced with a charge, know your rights and be prepared to defend yourself in court.

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