It is true that getting charged with a misdemeanor offense is not as serious as facing a felony charge. However, having a misdemeanor conviction on your criminal record can affect your life long after you have served your jail time and paid your fine. It is dangerous to assume that pleading guilty to a misdemeanor charge is no big deal.
If you are a young adult, the impact this charge can have on your life is especially severe, influencing your job, educational and housing options. Before you rush to accept a guilty plea, understand the consequences of this action.
3 ways a misdemeanor conviction can hurt your future
- A conviction can limit your educational options. If you have been convicted of misdemeanor drug possession, you may be disqualified from applying for government loans or grants, reducing your educational options. Without federal aid, you may be unable to afford the degree that opens the door to a lucrative job.
- A conviction can affect your job options. A misdemeanor conviction can prevent you from working in certain fields, such as law enforcement or finance, or applying for certain professional licenses. Additionally, during the hiring process, employers conduct background checks and use this information to narrow their pool of potential employees. Your record could affect the job offers you receive.
- A conviction can reduce your housing options. Landlords screen lease applicants before they will hand over the keys to an apartment. In a tight rental market, landlords can afford to be highly selective and will reject applicants for a variety of reasons, including a criminal record.
As a young adult, you have your whole life ahead of you. How you handle your criminal matter today can shape your future. Know the possible outcomes of the decisions you make before you act.