When a person is found guilty of a misdemeanor, he receives a misdemeanor conviction as well as any penalties that go along with it. Misdemeanors are crimes that are considered minor in a particular jurisdiction. Felonies are considered major or more serious crimes and result in felony convictions. The penalties for conviction of a misdemeanor are typically lighter than those given for felonious acts.
While misdemeanors are usually considered less serious crimes, the difference between a misdemeanor conviction and a felony conviction is often focused on the penalties involved. For example, a person may be convicted of theft, which carries certain penalties, depending on the jurisdiction in which he was convicted. If he was convicted of misdemeanor theft, he can generally expect his jail term to be shorter than if he had been convicted of felony theft. Some jurisdictions give jail sentences of less than one year for misdemeanor convictions.
Sometimes those convicted of misdemeanors do not receive jail sentences at all. In some cases, a judge may suspend the guilty party’s sentence as long as he doesn’t get into any additional trouble with the law. In other cases, an individual may be required to perform community service. Some misdemeanor convictions even carry monetary fines instead of or in addition to jail time.
For many, the idea of a misdemeanor conviction may seem less frightening and troublesome than a felony conviction, but misdemeanors can result in serious consequences. In addition to the potential for jail time, an individual may receive a permanent negative mark on his criminal record after a misdemeanor conviction. This means prospective employers may discover the conviction during a background check. Employers may be more reluctant to hire those with felony convictions, however. If the misdemeanor conviction was for something the employer considers minor, he may be willing to overlook it.
There are many types of acts that may result in a misdemeanor conviction. Among them are shoplifting, vandalism, and disorderly conduct. In some places, assault and prostitution may be considered misdemeanors as well. Often, certain types of vehicle-related acts are considered misdemeanors. For example, reckless driving and drunk driving are considered misdemeanors in some places.
Some countries do not categorize crimes as misdemeanors and felonies. The United States and countries with similar legal systems use these categories. In other countries, such as the United Kingdom, crimes are separated into summary and indictable offenses. A summary offense is a minor type of crime while an indictable offense is more serious.