What Happens When You Get Charged With a Misdemeanor?

Hands Behind Bars

What happens when you get charged with a misdemeanor?

If you’ve been arrested in Lebanon and Reading, PA, the charges will either be a felony or misdemeanor. Misdemeanors are typically less serious offenses but like felonies are classified by different degrees with different consequences.

Misdemeanor classifications:

  • First degree misdemeanor: Offenses include simple assault, stalking, and multiple DUIs. Punishment can range from two and one-half to five years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines.
  • Second degree misdemeanor: Offenses include shoplifting, impersonating a public servant, and property theft valued between $50 to $200. Punishment can range from one to two years in prison and fines up to $5,000.
  • Third degree misdemeanor: Charges can vary from possession of marijuana to open lewdness to property theft less than $50. Punishment can range from six months to one year in prison and fines up to $2,500.

Some misdemeanors are ungraded but are typically treated as third degree misdemeanors. Anytime you’ve been arrested and charged with a misdemeanor offense and need misdemeanor bail in Lebanon and Reading, PA, call Bail Shop, LLC at 888-224-5711 for immediate help with bail.

Will a misdemeanor ruin my life?

How an arrest for a misdemeanor offense affects your life will vary in a variety of circumstances. A conviction will remain on your criminal record permanently unless you are able to get it expunged. This could show up on background checks for employment or if you are trying to get a loan for a home, vehicle, or other reason. Your ability to rent a property or even get into college could be affected. Immigration status can also be affected, including a risk of deportation. If you have several DUI offenses, for instance, you could lose your license and may have to go to rehab or get some kind of mental health or substance abuse support.

A misdemeanor conviction or arrest might not ruin your life, but it can affect it in serious ways. One of the most important things to do is to be upfront with people like potential employers about the offense. Employers tend to prefer honesty, and some may not make a big deal of the offense, especially you are honest about it.

How bad is a misdemeanor?

Although considered a less serious offense than a felony, depending on the particular offense, a misdemeanor can have serious consequences, including jail time. For a first degree misdemeanor like simple assault, if convicted, you could serve up to five years in prison and pay up to $10,000 in fines. Also, the offense is going to stay on your criminal record for life unless you can with good reason get it expunged. This could affect your employment opportunities or financial opportunities later in life.

Misdemeanor bail amount

Generally, when you are arrested are charged with a felony or misdemeanor in Pennsylvania, magisterial district court judges set bail. Depending on the county, typically misdemeanor bail is handled differently from felony bail.

With a misdemeanor, usually, the defendant receives charges in the mail in addition to a summons to a preliminary hearing. It’s at this hearing that bail is set. Normally, because most misdemeanor defendants are not considered flight risks the bail is set as either released on recognizance (ROR) or an unsecured bail amount that is paid if a failure to appear occurs. This means the defendant promises to appear for all court dates. Of course, depending on the defendant’s criminal background, a judge may order a standard bail amount that must be paid to be released from jail if the person was arrested and jailed, as might happen in certain circumstances.

What is misdemeanor bail jumping?

No matter whether you’ve been charged with a misdemeanor or felony, if you fail to make your court appearance as promised, this is considered skipping bail or bail jumping. The whole reason bail is allowed is to get you to return to court. Bail jumping has consequences not just for the defendant but everyone involved in getting that person bonded out.

The first consequence of bail jumping is misdemeanor bail forfeiture. This means you will not get the money back from the court that was paid to bail you out. Next, a bench warrant will be issued for your arrest and additional criminal charges will be filed against you. Anyone who helps you while on the run can also face charges. Moreover, whoever co-signed for the bond also will be responsible for the full bail amount.

In many misdemeanor cases in Pennsylvania, unsecured bail is set and if you fail to appear in court, you have to pay that bail amount to be released.

Minimum sentence for misdemeanor bail jumping

The consequences of bail jumping can vary. Most often your misdemeanor bail will be forfeited if you jumped bail. If convicted, you may get additional jail time or fines, or both. Usually, if you failed to appear in a misdemeanor case, you have 30 days to surrender yourself to the court before facing the consequences of bail jumping.

What does it mean to have your bail revoked?

Whether you have misdemeanor bail or felony bail, typically along with the bail conditions are set that you must follow to uphold your release. The primary condition is to return to court at your appointed date. You might also be required to start substance abuse rehab, find work, or meet similar conditions. Any failure to meet these conditions will cause your bail to be revoked and you will be jailed until your court hearing.

Lawyer and Defendant Sit Before a Judge.

Do you lose bail money if found guilty?

Normally, if you paid cash bail, you paid the full amount of bail set by the court. As long as the defendant makes all court appearances, the court will return your money, even if the defendant is found guilty. If the defendant misses any hearing without good reason, the money is forfeited. If you paid a surety bond, the money is a fee paid to a bail bonds agent and is not refundable.

If you need assistance with misdemeanor bail in Lebanon and Reading, PA, you can rely on Bail Shop, LLC 24/7 by calling 888-224-5711.