Underestimating the consequences of a misdemeanor offense

People in Georgia and elsewhere routinely underestimate the downsides of a misdemeanor conviction. That is arguably a natural response, given the comparatively weighty nature of a felony offense.

It also spotlights a misguided assumption, namely, that the outcome of a misdemeanor charge will almost routinely be trivial in nature. In fact, and as we note on our website at the proven North Georgia criminal defense firm of Miles Hansford & Tallant, downplaying the seriousness of a misdemeanor can be “a big mistake.”

Here’s why: Georgia criminal law enforcers are not predisposed toward leniency concerning misdemeanor offenses, even charges focused on nonviolent crime and first-time offenders. People are often surprised to note that even a charge like petty theft or disorderly conduct can yield stark consequences. Routinely, those include jail lockup, heavy fines, probation, community service and additional exactions.

And then there is this: Ancillary consequences like job loss, debt-linked challenges, the resulting dent in a personal reputation and more can just about turn a life upside down.

Such fallout is underscored in a recent article authored by a justice insider. That piece stresses an urgent need to reconsider misdemeanor charging/results across the United States and implement new policies and outcomes. It notes the “often disproportionately harsh” consequences that befall many of the more than 13 million Americans annually charged with misdemeanor offenses.

We note those well at Miles Hansford & Tallant. We welcome contacts to the firm to discuss our legal team’s deep collective experience and the best-case strategies we pursue on behalf of valued clients who urgently need strong legal assistance.

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