If you have been charged with a misdemeanor, you are likely embarrassed about it and want to put the incident behind you as soon as possible. As a result, you may be tempted to plead guilty to the charge. However, doing this is generally a bad idea, as pleading guilty can have consequences that you did not anticipate.
Although misdemeanors are less serious than felonies and carry little or no jail time, pleading guilty to one will result in a criminal conviction on your record. This can come back to haunt you later in life when you look for a job, apply for an apartment lease or join a licensed profession.
Although the short-term consequences to pleading guilty (e.g. paying a fine or a short stay in jail) seem rather minor, the long-term consequences are much worse. This is primarily because background checks are a fact of life nowadays. If you have a criminal record, you will likely find it harder to find a job, as many employers will not hire applicants with certain types of convictions, such as theft. Additionally, a criminal conviction will also make property owners think twice about renting to you and may bar you from entering or maintaining employment in certain licensed professions, such as medicine or law.
Because of what is at stake, it is important for you to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as you are charged with a crime. Although you may think that you are guilty of the crime, in many cases, the misdemeanor charges can be resolved in a manner that does not result in a conviction on your record.