What does Misdemeanor mean?
A misdemeanor is a minor criminal offense. It can include a wide variety of offenses such as trespassing, disorderly conduct, petty theft, certain drunk driving offenses and driving without a valid driver's license. Misdemeanors vary from felonies, which are a more serious criminal offense, and misdemeanors generally allow for penalties of fines, probation, community service and incarceration for a year or less.
Certain misdemeanors can remain on a defendant's criminal record forever. For instance, many states do not allow misdemeanor drunk driving offenses to be expunged from a driver's record, causing long-term negative ramifications for even minor offenses. If you have been charged with a misdemeanor you may or may not need to consult with a legal attorney before pleading guilty to the charge.