If you are young and just starting your life at college or even just entering the workforce, you may believe that a misdemeanor conviction is not that big of a deal. If you believe that a misdemeanor is equivalent to a slap on the wrist, you should know that the penalties from a misdemeanor can negatively impact you a long time to come. This is especially true if your conviction is drug or violence-related.

What is a misdemeanor?

As you may be aware, a felony is the most serious category of crime and carries the most stringent penalties. A misdemeanor is a step below a felony, and you can face misdemeanor charges for acts such as assault, domestic violence, DUI, theft or resisting arrest.

Penalties associated with a misdemeanor

If you are convicted of a misdemeanor, you will quickly realize that the penalties can impact both your freedom and finances. Worse yet, if you receive a second or even third misdemeanor conviction, you can expect an even harsher sentence. A misdemeanor conviction can result in:

  • Up to one year of jail time
  • Expensive fines
  • Community service that could take you away from school or your job
  • Mandatory counseling or special classes that have rigid requirements

University students with a misdemeanor

You are attending college to receive a degree that can help you secure a viable career. Since misdemeanors are public record, future employers may see your conviction for drugs, DUI or assault and decide to pass on your candidacy. In the short-term as a college student, your misdemeanor can mean:

  • Suspension or expulsion from school
  • Loss of an athletic or academic scholarship
  • Loss of financial aid

Can you lose financial/student aid?

If you are in college at the time of your misdemeanor conviction, you may easily have your student aid suspended or cancelled. Since you likely rely on this aid to help pay your tuition, the consequences of a misdemeanor may also cause you to drop out of school.

If you find yourself in a situation that could result in misdemeanor charges, you should contact a criminal defense attorney right away. By not fighting against the charge, you may be dealing with the consequences for a very long time.