Mere allegations of criminal wrongdoing can have a tremendous impact on your life. That is why we tell our clients time and again that they need to be prepared to fight every aspect of the criminal charges that have been levied against them.
But how, exactly, can a criminal charge affect your record and your livelihood? Here are just a few ways that a criminal charge and its resulting record may impact you:
- Employment: Even without a conviction, a charged criminal offense may affect your ability to obtain employment. This is because employers are generally free to conduct background checks and ask you about your history of involvement with the criminal justice system. What the employer finds out may dissuade it from hiring you.
- Professional licenses: Even if you aren’t convicted of a criminal offense, mere charges can cause a professional organization to investigate the incident, which in turn can lead to suspension or revocation of your license.
- Child custody: If you are in the middle of a child custody dispute, allegations of criminal wrongdoing, even without a conviction, can be used against you to show that your actions do not support the child’s best interests.
Remember, too, that a mere charge on your record can affect how people view you. So, when it comes to matters like housing and college admissions, you may be at a disadvantage even though you were never proven guilty of committing a crime.
In these instances, not only will you want to fight the criminal charges that have been brought against you, but once the charges are dismissed or you are acquitted, you may want to take action to have the records expunged.
What about criminal convictions?
A criminal conviction is going to be even more damaging to your record and numerous aspects of your life. Any of the following may be impacted by your conviction:
- Immigration status: Depending on the facts at hand, a criminal conviction could lead to a status denial and even result in removal from the country.
- Housing: A criminal conviction may make it challenging for you to obtain appropriate housing. Many leasing agencies ask if you have been convicted of a felony offense within a specified period of time, and they very well might deny your application if you answer “yes.” This can leave you with limited and less- favorable housing options.
- Driver’s license: If your criminal offense involved driving while intoxicated, your license is probably going to be suspended or revoked upon conviction. This can make it difficult for you to keep your job, visit your children, and even care for an elderly loved one.
- Penalty enhancements: In many instances, a first criminal conviction will lay the foundation for prosecutors to hit you with more serious penalties on a subsequent charge. This can put you at an increased risk of more jail or prison time, financially ruinous fines, and even more significant damage to your reputation and your rights.
Keep in mind, too, that a criminal conviction is going to touch on other aspects of your life. That is why it is imperative that you seek out the strong criminal defense that you need to protect your interests and your future.
Are you ready to fight to protect yourself?
If so, then now is the time to reach out to a legal professional who you feel confident will zealously advocate on your behalf. We know that it can be difficult to figure out what kind of law firm is best suited to do that, which is why we encourage you to research those firms that are appealing to you so that you can make the informed decision that is right for you.