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There are two kinds of Misdemeanors. A first-degree Misdemeanor which is punishable by up to 1 year in jail, or a $1000.00 fine, or 1 year of probation. Then there is a second-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to 60 days in jail, or a $500.00 fine, or six months of probation.
Misdemeanor crimes can have serious consequences on your record, such as affecting your current employment or future employment opportunities. If you have a misdemeanor criminal battery conviction, a DUI conviction, trespass conviction or theft conviction, employers may steer clear of offering you a job at their company.
Misdemeanor domestic violence battery convictions can affect other areas of your life such as your ability to carry a gun, impact your citizenship, to be granted or hold onto certain security clearances, and you could go to jail.
Prosecutors will almost always try to see if they can enhance the crime to a felony. One of the reasons for this is that the threat of a felony conviction may make the accused plead to a lesser misdemeanor offense to avoid up to 5 years in prison and the loss of several civil rights. After all, the job of the prosecutor is not to be your friend, it is to keep conviction rates high.
It is very important that you have someone in your corner that is experienced in dealing with misdemeanor cases, making sure the prosecution does not unnecessarily use your fear of conviction against you to plead to a crime you have not committed. If the prosecution cannot prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt, they cannot achieve a conviction.
Just because a misdemeanor does not sound as scary as a felony, you should take your legal rights and freedoms just as seriously. Any criminal conviction can have serious consequences on your life, both in the short-term, and long-term.