|Updated: 4/13/2007 5:35 pm
||Published: 4/13/2007 5:35 pm
Misdemeanors are crimes that are less serious than felonies, and which are generally punishable by a fine, a period of probation, or a jail sentence of less than one year. Misdemeanor crimes include disorderly conduct, disorderly intoxication, battery, prostitution, and petty theft. A first-time conviction of a misdemeanor crime often results in a fine together with a probationary period. Judges may also sentence first-time misdemeanor offenders to a designated period of community service. Subsequent convictions of a misdemeanor crime may result in a jail sentence and, if the sentence is more than a one-year imprisonment, the crime is reclassified as a felony. While less serious than a felony crime, a conviction of a misdemeanor crime still becomes part of the criminal record, although it's sometimes possible to have this record removed or expunged at a later date. If you're accused of a misdemeanor crime, you have the right to an attorney. If you can't afford a private attorney, the court will appoint a public defender for you. The way your case is handled can affect your chances of having your record cleared in the future, so you should ask your attorney about the possibility of becoming eligible to have a possible conviction removed from your record at a later date.