The law specifies the potential penalties that can be imposed upon criminal conviction. Of course, the extent and severity of those penalties will depend on the criminal offense in question, but much of your criminal defense will focus on how to reduce your exposure to those penalties.
That said, the true impact of criminal conviction isn’t readily apparent in a statute or in a plea bargain given that a conviction can have a tremendous ripple effect of collateral consequences that could touch nearly every aspect of your life.
The collateral ramifications of criminal conviction
Jail, prison, and fines are all top concerns for those who have been accused of criminal wrongdoing, but there are a lot of other negative consequences that you could face if you’re convicted of an offense. Here are some of those that may be most harmful to your future:
- Employment woes: Merely being charged with a criminal offense could lead to job loss, but a criminal conviction can leave you with a marred record that will render it challenging to secure the employment you want, even after you’ve paid your debt to society. As a result, your lifetime earnings can be drastically reduced if you have a criminal conviction on your record.
- Housing problems: A criminal conviction can also make it difficult to find the kind of housing that you want, especially if you’ve been convicted of a felony. After being convicted, your housing options will probably be limited, and those that exist will be less desirable than you’d hoped.
- Professional license lost: If you had a career that required professional licensure, then a criminal conviction could result in the revocation of your license. This will no doubt up-end the career that you’ve worked hard to build, and it can put you at a financial disadvantage in the years to come as you try to find alternative forms of employment.
- Driver’s license suspension or revocation: Although losing your license isn’t the end of the world, it can certainly make your everyday life more challenging. It can make it difficult to get to work and visit family, and you might not be able to take advantage of educational opportunities. This can lead to lost opportunities and a decreased enjoyment of life.
- Family law issues: A criminal conviction could even impact a family law case that you have, especially if it’s related to child custody. Your child’s other parent might use your conviction against you to try to limit or even entirely cutoff your time with your child. This, of course, can negatively impact your relationship with your child, and it can be a huge emotional blow.
- Damaged reputation: A criminal conviction can also tarnish the reputation that you’ve built over the years. You might find yourself shunned from those who once supported you, and you might struggle to find the support that you need when times are tough.
Don’t let your fears paralyze your criminal defense
Although these potential collateral consequences can be scary and stressful, you shouldn’t let them paralyze you with fear. Instead, try to use them as motivating factors to build the most aggressive criminal defense possible under the circumstances.
To do so, you’ll need to understand the law and how it applies to your set of circumstances. So, as you prepare to navigate your criminal case, be sure to educate yourself as much as possible so that you can make the informed decisions best suited to protect your interests and your future.