You should treat every criminal charge seriously, even if it is just a "small" crime because it may have further complications down the line for you. For example, even crimes that start out too small to attract jail time can get complicated enough to send you to prison depending on the additional factors involved. Here are four cases in which a minor crime may end up sending you to jail:
If You Don't Pay the Fine
Most minor crimes attract criminal fines as their main punishments. Failure to pay a criminal fine is a crime, and it can land you in jail, even if the crime that attracted the fine in the first place was minor.
If you fail to pay the fine, it's the cost responsibility to determine whether you willfully disobeyed the order or you genuinely lack the resources to do so. If the court determines that you willfully refused to pay the fine, it can sentence you to jail.
If It Violates Probation Condition
In some cases, a conviction for a minor crime attracts both probation sentencing and a monetary fine. As you know, probation sentencing comes with a set of conditions that you must observe to avoid being sent to jail. In many cases, any offense you commit when on probation gets you sent to jail. Therefore, you will be sent to prison for violating your probation if you commit another small offense (such as not paying your criminal fine) while on probation.
If You Have Prior Convictions
If you have prior criminal convictions, you should be careful on how you handle your current criminal accusations, even if they are minor. This is because courts sometimes use prior convictions, especially if they were for crimes related to your current one, to enhance sentences. Therefore, even if the judge would have let you off with a fine and a warning, they may send you to jail if you have been convicted of a related crime in the past.
If You Have a Conditional Suspended Sentence
Finally, a minor crime can also send you to jail if you have a conditional suspended sentence. A suspended sentence means the judge sentences you to jail, but you don't serve the time as long as you observe the conditions attached to it. One of the conditions may be that you shouldn't commit a crime for a specified duration. Therefore, if you commit any crime while having conditional suspended sentence, you can be sent to jail even if the minor offense doesn't warrant jail time of itself.
Therefore, it's best to stay clear of all crimes, even the relatively minor ones. If you do get charged with a minor crime, treat it seriously just as you would a serious crime, especially if there are aggravating factors that can result in jail time. Contact a business, such as the Hart Law Offices, PC, for more information.