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The Spodek Law Group understands how delicate high-profile cases can be, and has a strong track record of getting positive outcomes. Our lawyers service a clientele that is nationwide. With offices in both LA and NYC, and cases all across the country - Spodek Law Group is a top tier law firm.

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Convicted of a Misdemeanor – 5 Typical Consequences

By Spodek Law Group | February 13, 2023
(Last Updated On: October 19, 2023)

Last Updated on: 19th October 2023, 12:22 pm


Convicted of a Misdemeanor – 5 Typical Consequences

So you got convicted of a misdemeanor. That sucks. We all make mistakes sometimes. But now you’re probably wondering – what happens next? What are the typical consequences I’ll be facing?

Getting convicted of a misdemeanor can lead to a bunch of different penalties, depending on the exact crime, your state’s laws, and other factors. There’s usually fines you gotta pay, probation terms you gotta follow, and other stuff that varies case by case.

But there’s 5 main consequences that are pretty common across most misdemeanor convictions. I’ll break ’em down for you here so you know what to expect. This ain’t legal advice though – definitely talk to a lawyer about your specific situation.

1. Fines and Fees

Fines are probably the most common penalty for misdemeanors. These are monetary amounts you’ll have to pay as punishment. Fees refer to the court costs and other expenses that get tacked on top.

How much are we talking? Fines can range anywhere from $50 to several thousand dollars depending on the crime. Fees add a few hundred more. For example, a first-time DUI often carries around $300 to $1000 in fines plus fees.

The judge decides the fine amount based on factors like:

  • How severe the crime was
  • Your income level
  • Any damages or injuries caused
  • Whether you have any prior convictions

If you can’t pay right away, the court may let you set up a payment plan to pay over time. But if you just ignore the fines, that failure to pay can cause additional penalties like probation violations, license suspension, wage garnishment, or even jail time in some cases.

2. Probation

Many misdemeanor convictions result in probation. This means you’re released but have to follow certain rules and check in with a probation officer periodically. How long it lasts varies but 6-12 months is common for misdemeanors.

Standard probation terms include:

  • Obey all laws – no new crimes!
  • Avoid alcohol and illegal drugs
  • Steer clear of certain places like bars
  • Stay in your home area unless permitted to travel
  • Allow probation officer to visit your home
  • Get permission before changing jobs or moving
  • Pay all fines, fees, and restitution
  • Complete any required counseling, classes, community service
  • Submit to random drug/alcohol testing

If you violate any terms, that’s bad news – it could extend your probation or even result in jail time. So tread carefully here.

3. Community Service

Don’t be surprised if the judge orders you to complete some amount of community service as part of your sentence. This means volunteering your time unpaid at certain non-profit or public organizations.

Typical community service assignments include:

  • Picking up trash along highways
  • Working at food banks or soup kitchens
  • Cleaning up parks, beaches, forests, etc.
  • Helping out at animal shelters
  • Doing maintenance/repairs for community centers

The number of hours ordered can range from 10 up to 100+ depending on the offense. You’ll get info on where/when you need to complete them. It’s usually spread out over weeks or months so you aren’t doing it all at once.

If you don’t finish your hours, that could mean more community service, fines, or even jail time for contempt of court. So be sure to stay on top of it.

4. Counseling or Classes

For some types of misdemeanors like drug possession, DUI, domestic violence, etc. the judge may order you to complete counseling or take certain classes as part of your sentence.

Examples include:

  • DUI School – Alcohol education classes for drunk driving offenses
  • Anger Management Counseling – For domestic violence charges
  • Substance Abuse Treatment – For drug-related crimes
  • Shoplifting or Theft Classes – Teaching about consequences of stealing

These programs aim to change any problematic behaviors and prevent you from reoffending. The duration can be anywhere from a few weeks to over a year depending on what the court orders.

You’ll have to cover the costs yourself in most cases. Prices vary but expect to pay hundreds or even thousands of dollars altogether.

5. Jail Time

While less common for misdemeanors, jail time is still a possibility depending on the crime. The maximum jail sentence is usually no more than 1 year.

In practice, misdemeanor jail terms are often much shorter – more like 1-90 days. Exceptions are certain more serious misdemeanors like DUI which can result in months of jail.

Instead of straight jail time, the judge may order you to serve your sentence on weekends or during nights so you can still work. This is sometimes called a “split sentence.”

The prosecution typically requests jail if there are aggravating factors like:

  • You have prior convictions
  • You violated probation
  • The crime caused substantial harm or injuries
  • You seem likely to reoffend without incarceration

Jail time depends on the judge’s discretion though. Your lawyer may argue against it and propose alternatives like probation, counseling, or community service instead.

With the right legal help and smart decisions going forward, you can get through this rough patch and move on from your misdemeanor. It’ll take some time and effort, but you got this!

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