Many people think of criminal charges with regard to the immediate impacts. They think about the arrest and the time in jail. The money that has to come out for bail and the impending court case come to mind.
What many people don’t understand is that the effects of a criminal conviction go far beyond what the court will impose. These other impacts are known as collateral consequences.
The social impacts of any criminal conviction are considerable, but they are worse for people who are convicted of felony charges. This label stays with you for life and might turn friends away. Depending on the type of conviction, there is a chance that you might lose your driver’s license and can’t have the freedom that comes with one. Another thing to consider is that if you are under the court’s supervision, you might not be able to hang around anyone who has a criminal record or go to establishments that serve alcoholic beverages.
A criminal record might prevent you from being able to hold certain jobs. One thing that you likely won’t be able to do is hold a public office. Many jobs that have to do with the elderly or with children would likely be off limits. Employers can reject your application for a job based on your criminal record check if the conviction would have a direct impact on your duties. For example, you likely couldn’t work as an investment banker if you have a conviction for identity theft.
The financial implications of a criminal conviction start with the bail you have to put up to get out of jail pending the outcome of your case. You also have to think about paying the defense attorney. If you are convicted, you have to add in fines and court costs. You may also have to pay for things like community supervision if you are on probation, parole or other court imposed sentences.
Your lifestyle might have to change if you are convicted. You may have difficulties finding a place to live because many landlords conduct background checks that would reveal your conviction. Some convictions also impact your ability to get certain loans, such as education loans. Even your ability to own a gun or vote could be affected by certain criminal convictions.
Consider all of the ways that these convictions can impact your life. This might affect your defense strategy.