How a Criminal Record Affects Your Life

When you face your charges and choose to plead guilty or are found guilty by a jury of your peers, you will be issued a sentence which you will have to serve. Your sentence can vary depending on the nature of your charges, but usually includes some fairly common and well-known consequences like jail time, fines, probation, or community service. But what many people who are facing criminal accusations don’t realize is how many consequences they’ll face that are not handed out by the court. Criminal convictions go on your permanent public record, and those entries can create a lot of additional hardships that you may have to deal with for the rest of your life.

Let’s take a closer look at these added consequences of a criminal conviction.

Financial Consequences

If you’re awaiting your trial, you might be weighing the costs and benefits of hiring a criminal defense attorney. Is it really worth it? Should you just plead guilty to save the money? You might be surprised to find out that’s almost always not a wise idea.

A criminal conviction will carry a fairly heavy financial burden in addition to other penalties. For starters, most criminal convictions, particularly misdemeanors, carry a fine. Fines can range from less than $100 to thousands of dollars in the case of serious theft crimes, drug crimes, or other major felonies. These fines are completely separate from any restitution you might be ordered to pay to the victim of your crime, which is not uncommon for theft crime convictions in Texas.

Furthermore, you’ll be responsible for paying your court costs. A criminal defendant can easily accrue a bill of $600 just in court-related fees. Those fees can skyrocket well over the $5,000 mark if you are given a probation sentence.

Once you add all of these things together, you can see how paying the costs to hire an attorney and fight back against your charges can have serious benefits, including helping you actually save money in the long run.

Employment Prospects

As we just saw, a conviction or guilty plea means you’ll need a good chunk of money to pay all of the associated costs. What you may not know is that getting that money will become much tougher. Employers often reserve the right to terminate employees who are found guilty of a criminal conviction, especially when that conviction is for actions that directly impacted them, like a theft crime.

Likewise, once your sentence is complete, you may find it’s a lot harder to obtain employment and start getting your life back on track. Employers want to know who their workers really are, and a criminal background check is about as common of a part of the job application process as filling out your basic information or providing a social security number. Having a criminal conviction on your history could wind up disqualifying you from the position you’re seeking, or if it doesn’t, it might persuade a company to hire someone else instead.

Reduced Civil Liberties

Depending on the nature of your charges, you may lose some of your normal rights and abilities that you would have had before your conviction. While misdemeanor convictions don’t usually carry a lot of these restrictions, convicted felons are prohibited from a number of things, including voting, holding public office, or owning a firearm. Felons could also be ineligible to receive a license needed for some types of employment, such as sell cars or operate a pyrotechnic display, though certain exemptions may exist for certain licenses, provided the convicted individual demonstrates they have good moral character.

Social Stigma

No matter how mild your conviction may have been, you may notice that society just seems to look at you differently from before. Being a convicted criminal has a serious negative social stigma, and discrimination is fairly common in the aftermath of a guilty verdict. Even in instances where the conviction was wrongful or overturned at a later date when new evidence appeared that exonerated the individual, many people report being viewed as a criminal for the rest of their lives, especially in cases of serious crimes. This often leads to psychological changes, such as hyper-vigilance and self-imposed isolation, emotional distancing, guilt, and even PTSD in severe cases.

If you are facing criminal charges, you can’t afford to go without quality representation with so much at stake. Call a McKinney criminal defense attorney from The Crowder Law Firm today at (214) 981-1441 to request a case evaluation and start fighting your charges today.
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