A criminal conviction can have many collateral consequences for your life. While most defendants understand that they face jail time or fines, they do not consider the collateral damage that a conviction can have in other areas of their lives. Learn more about these unanticipated consequences – and how a good criminal defense lawyer can mitigate these consequences.
The criminal consequences of a conviction are usually written directly into a criminal statute. You might face fines, jail time, or both. A plea agreement could contain additional terms that are specific to the alleged offense. Common examples include drug testing, substance abuse counseling, anger management counseling, and community service. The terms of a plea agreement can be negotiated between your defense lawyer and the prosecutor. For this reason, it is helpful to hire a criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible and consult about the right strategy for your particular case. It is possible to mitigate the consequences of a criminal conviction by carefully crafting a plea agreement that works for you.
A defendant can be convicted of a felony either by pleading guilty as part of a plea agreement or through a conviction at trial. Once the felony is on the record (however it gets there), the defendant automatically loses certain civil rights. Gun ownership, the right to vote, and the right to serve on a jury are automatically taken away from a defendant convicted of a felony. Some of these rights can be restored later for qualified defendants. Many defendants are not aware that their civil rights can be taken away as a result of a plea agreement, so be sure to ask your lawyer about these rights before making a plea strategy.
Parents can face restrictions on their parenting rights that are imposed by the family court. A custody case could be initiated by the child’s other parent or by the state. In either event, evidence of the conviction is likely to be considered relevant to the judge’s determination of what is in the best interests of the child. The judge can also consider an arrest or pending charges – even if there has not yet been a conviction. If you have children, be sure to ask your defense lawyer about the effect your criminal charges could have on your parenting rights. Here, too, it can be possible to mitigate the parenting consequences of a conviction through a strategic plea agreement.
Certain criminal offenses can lead to the suspension – or even revocation – of your driver’s license. There are also many professional licenses that can be affected by a criminal conviction. If you hold a medical or law license, a general contracting license, or any other professional license, your licensing board could impose discipline as a result of your criminal charges.
The above consequences can often be mitigated with good legal advice and a strategic plea agreement. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation with attorney Jonathan Minkus.