Empty courtroomThis is the first post in a series of articles in which I will discuss the seriousness of misdemeanor charges in Peoria, Illinois. Many people labor under the impression that if a crime is a misdemeanor rather than a felony, the consequences of a conviction are of little concern. While it is true that felonies are punished more severely, the long-term impact of even a minor misdemeanor conviction can be devastating. The goal of this series is to stress the importance of defending oneself against misdemeanor charges and explain how the failure to take such charges seriously may impact one’s future. If you need assistance with a criminal matter, contact my office today to speak with an attorney.

I will address the following topics in the coming articles:

  • Misdemeanor convictions can result in permanent criminal records
  • A misdemeanor conviction may lead to harsher penalties for future charges
  • Ignoring a summons for a misdemeanor can lead to the issuance of an arrest warrant

If you have been charged with a misdemeanor offense, do not underestimate the potential impact of a conviction. First, if a person is charged, arrested, or convicted of a crime, the information will be entered on their criminal record. While some activities may be expunged from or sealed in a criminal record, others, including certain misdemeanor convictions are not eligible for the process. Misdemeanor convictions on a criminal record are available to employers and others on background checks and may prevent a person from finding or keeping housing, jobs, or professional licensing. Second, if an individual is charged with a criminal offense and already has a prior misdemeanor conviction, it is probable that the subsequent conviction will result in more severe penalties. Third, the prosecutor may issue a summons to court, similar to a traffic ticket, to individuals accused of certain minor misdemeanor offenses. Failing to respond to a summons or appear in court may lead to the issuance of a warrant for one’s arrest, which can mean a suspended driver’s license, travel restrictions, or being taken into custody when least expected. An experienced attorney can help defend you against even the most minor charges to keep your record clear and reduce or avoid criminal penalties.

If you are facing misdemeanor charges, contact my office today to speak to a Peoria attorney. We also serve clients in Bloomington, Decatur, Eureka, Galesburg, Morton, Normal, Pekin, Springfield, and Washington and the counties of Fulton, Knox, LaSalle, Marshall, Mason, McLean, Putnam, Rock Island, Schuyler, Stark, Tazewell, and Woodford. Additional areas where we handle federal cases include Benton, Chicago, East St. Louis, Springfield, and Urbana.