The threat of criminal conviction can loom heavy. If you’ve been accused of wrongdoing, then you’re probably worried about the implications of conviction. This is understandable. After all, a lot of people who are charged with a criminal offense are afraid that they might end up spending time in jail or prison, thereby being stripped away from their family and life as they know it.
As stressful as that thought can be, incarceration is really just one of the many penalties that you might be hit with if you’re convicted. That’s why before you accept any sort of plea deal from the prosecution, you need to understand what’s at stake in your case.
The collateral consequences of criminal conviction
The impact of a criminal conviction can be broad and far-reaching, perhaps even more so than you ever expected. While incarceration is a very real concern, here are some other penalties that you might end up facing, even after you think that you’ve paid your debt to society:
- Employment woes: Sure, you might lose your job after you’re initially charged with a criminal offense, but a criminal conviction might make it even harder to secure the employment that you want, and for a long period of time, too. This is especially true when you’ve been convicted of a felony. After all, most employers are going to ask if you’ve ever been convicted of a felony, and most employers are also going to conduct a background check.
- Housing issues: Your criminal conviction might also impact your ability to secure the housing that you want. A lot of landlords won’t lease to someone who has been convicted of a felony, even if they’re not supposed to make decisions solely on your criminal background. This can severely limit your housing options and force you into a less than desirable situation.
- Child custody repercussions: If you have custody of your child or at least enjoy visitation through an existing custody order, then your time with your kid might be at risk. Your child’s other parent might use your conviction against you to try to limit your contact with your child, which may be difficult to overcome depending on the type of crime for which you’re convicted.
- Professional license problems: If your occupation requires you to hold a professional license, then your conviction might cause your license to be suspended or revoked, thereby upending a career that you’ve spend years, maybe even decades, to build.
- Driving restrictions: If you end up convicted of something like drunk driving, then your driving privileges might be suspended or revoked. This can make it difficult to get to work, visit family, and take care of loved ones. Losing your license can make life more difficult than you imagine.
- Damage to your reputation: As if the penalties mentioned above aren’t enough, a criminal conviction can also negatively impact your standing in the community and how you’re viewed by your family, friends, and colleagues. This can make it difficult to function in your social circles, and it may leave you feeling embarrassed and ashamed.
Stand up to protect your interests
As you can see, there’s a lot on the line in your criminal case. We don’t bring all of this up to try to scare you but instead to show you what’s at stake and the importance of building a strong criminal defense. So, before you act on any offers made by the prosecution, it’s in your best interests to discuss your circumstances with an experienced attorney who will know how to craft a compelling strategy and advocate for the best outcome possible given the facts at hand.