Anyone who has ever had a felony conviction is well-aware of the ramifications, both short and long-term. There are many things to deal with following a felony conviction, including fines, fees, loss of employment or future employment opportunities, jail or prison time, loss of professional licenses, inability to obtain a government student loan, and, for a federal conviction, the inability to own a firearm or ammunition. In short, those with a felony conviction can find it exceedingly difficult to re-enter society. But what about a misdemeanor conviction?
While many people feel like a misdemeanor conviction is really no big deal, in fact, such a conviction can bring many of the same consequences as a felony conviction. Even fairly minor crimes, like driving with a suspended license, or youthful possession of marijuana could burden you with significant disadvantages from many years to come. In this technological age, not only can many people pull up your charges and convictions online, a potential employer will almost certainly look at your record.
When a person checking your criminal record for employment purposes encounters a DUI or other misdemeanor crime, you could find yourself barred from working at a job you are otherwise well-qualified for. Further, your eligibility for a professional license, child custody, food stamps, student loans, and, in some cities, public housing, can be adversely affected. Because the consequences of a misdemeanor conviction can be significant, your goal, after being charged with a misdemeanor, should be to avoid conviction at all cost. The charges should be taken very seriously, and you should contact a highly-qualified Mississippi criminal defense attorney and discuss the specifics of your case immediately.
Misdemeanors Are a Big Deal
As of 2012, about 1 million felony convictions were entered across the nation each year. During the same time period, about 10 million misdemeanor cases were filed. Most states have misdemeanor dockets which are four or five times the size of felony dockets. In fact, if you are part of the American criminal justice system, the odds are good it is for a misdemeanor offense. Some states, such as California, don’t even bother to count misdemeanor convictions, despite the impact they have on the lives of those who receive the conviction.
Many of those charged with a misdemeanor crime may be pressured—by a judge, prosecutor or appointed attorney—to plead guilty, even when they are uncertain of their rights, or even the nature of the charges against them. Bail costs make it even worse, and it is fairly common for those who are totally innocent of the misdemeanor charges against them to plead guilty, simply to get out of jail. This is because the “average” jailed arrestee will spend 1-2 months in jail before the case is resolved, if he or she cannot afford bail or is denied bail. It is worth noting that federal misdemeanors tend to be more well-litigated than state misdemeanors, however it is clear the system does not work as intended for many of those charged with a misdemeanor crime.
Obtaining a Mississippi Expungement
On the state level, for many crimes, the options for purging a misdemeanor criminal record, remain limited, although in the state of Mississippi, you may be eligible for an expungement of your misdemeanor criminal record after filing the necessary forms with the municipal court. When those forms are filed, a hearing will be held where you can present your evidence and testimony. While most misdemeanor convictions in the state of Mississippi can be expunged, the process varies, depending on whether you are a repeat offender or a first-time offender. Once an expungement occurs, and the criminal record is sealed, it is only available for public viewing through a court order. You are then allowed to lawfully state on a job application that your expunged criminal record does not exist.
Getting the Legal Help You Need for Your Mississippi Misdemeanor Charges
Expungement can be a complex issue, therefore it is strongly advised that you have a knowledgeable Mississippi criminal defense attorney assist you—both with your misdemeanor charges and, if you decide to petition the court for an expungement, for that issue as well. Don’t let your misdemeanor charges alter your future—contact an experienced Mississippi criminal defense attorney today.
Contact Our Jackson Criminal Defense Lawyers
If you are arrested and charged with a crime in Jackson, Hattiesburg, Meridian, or anywhere in the State of Mississippi, you need to fight for your rights and protect your freedom. The best way to do this is to hire an experienced Jackson criminal defense attorney immediately.
At Coxwell & Associates, PLLC, our attorneys believe in fighting aggressively for our clients and we can build a defense that is designed to expose the holes in the prosecution’s case against you. Contact Coxwell & Associates today at 1-601-948-1600, 1-877-231-1600, or we'll ring you at a time best suited for you via the form below.
Disclaimer: This blog is intended as general information purposes only, and is not a substitute for legal advice. Anyone with a legal problem should consult a lawyer immediately.