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How serious are minor criminal offenses?

If you recall, we discussed some of the Lousiana laws pertaining to shoplifting in our prior blog post. We pointed out that the penalties for shoplifting weren't exactly minor in Louisiana. That brings up an important point -- you should take all criminal charges seriously, even if they don't seem like they are a very big deal.

Do I need a lawyer for minor criminal offenses?

Generally, you should always consult an attorney if you are facing criminal charges. The fact is that even minor criminal convictions can lead to serious effects down the road. In some cases, you might face civil penalties on top of criminal penalties for some minor crimes like shoplifting. If that is the case, your credit score could suffer because of a civil judgemet.

What happens if I don't go to court when I'm told to report?

You could be charged with a failure to appear if you don't go to court when you are supposed to. That could mean that you end up facing additional criminal charges that come with more fines and the possibility of incarceration.

What other minor acts might lead to criminal charges?

Acts that seem like pranks, such as senior pranks, might cross the line between fun and criminal. Revenge porn, using a fake identification, and similar acts can also lead to criminal charges.

No matter what type of criminal charges you are facing, you should make sure that you understand the possible consequences you are facing. Remember that consequences aren't always handed down through the criminal justice system. They can also be social, economic, or civil.

Source: FindLaw, "Top 5 Legal Tips for Minor Criminal Offenses," Christopher Coble, Esq., accessed May 27, 2016

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