People who are facing criminal charges tend to think about the criminal sentence. While time in prison, fines and similar penalties are a real concern, there are many others that you need to think about if you are in this position, especially if the charges are felonies.
When you are convicted of a felony, the branding of being a felon follows you around for life. The trouble with this is that it doesn’t give a person a chance to redeem themselves, even if they successfully complete the criminal sentence and turn their life around. It also doesn’t differentiate between violent crimes and non-violent crimes. Instead, there is just the umbrella term of being a felon.
Impacts on career options
Many careers rely on a person having a clean criminal history. Some, such as many white collar jobs like financial advisors or bankers, will likely be off limits for a person who has a criminal record. Depending on the nature of the conviction and the job’s duties, other jobs like those in education and health care might also be impossible for a person with a criminal history.
Sometimes, even retail jobs are hard to come by when you have a conviction. This might be the case for fraud or theft convictions since companies want to protect their assets. Somewhere around 80 percent of companies do criminal history checks, so you can imagine how hard it will be for an ex-offender to find suitable employment.
Social impacts of felony convictions
Another collateral consequence that you have to think about is your social life. This isn’t limited only to where you go with your friends. Many landlords do criminal background checks, so it might be hard for you to find a nice place to live. Another possibility is that you won’t have a suitable employment or credit history to purchase your own home.
Some criminal convictions, often those related to drugs, might preclude you from being able to get student loans, enroll in an institute of higher learning or receive public assistance. At a time in your life when finding employment is so difficult, not being able to count on these options to help you better yourself could be difficult.
You also have to think about the possibility of the loss of some rights. These can include losing the right to own a firearm and the right to vote.
While it isn’t going to remove all of the collateral consequences you face, your defense might be able to minimize them. Think about your options and work toward the ending that you feel is in your best interests.