A misdemeanor is traditionally defined as a crime that is punishable by less than one year in jail. (It is important to note, however, that the precise definition may vary from state to state.) Although misdemeanors are less serious crimes than felonies, misdemeanor charges should not be taken lightly. A misdemeanor conviction can have serious consequences and long-lasting effects. If you think you are the subject of a misdemeanor criminal investigation, you've been indicted, or you've been arrested and charged with a misdemeanor, speak to a criminal defense attorney immediately. Criminal defense lawyers can be present and advise you if you're being questioned by police, and can represent you during all phases of a criminal trial.