Facing criminal charges can be scary. But you have to be brave and confront the realities in front of you if you hope to stand a chance of avoiding the harshest of penalties and protecting your future as much as possible. While in some instances that means negotiating the most favorable plea deal possible under the circumstances, you shouldn’t make a decision about whether to plea or take your case to trial without first understanding the potential penalties you could face.
Keep in mind, too, that the penalties that you could face can be long-lasting and far-reaching. In other words, don’t make the mistake of just focusing on potential jail or prison time. Here are some of the penalties that you could end up facing upon conviction:
- Jail or prison time: Of course, this is most individuals’ immediate concern. You need to know what you’re potentially looking at timewise and consider what that means for your criminal defense.
- Fines: Depending on the crime in question, you could end up facing a massive fine or restitution that threatens your financial stability for years or even decades to come. Make sure that you understand how this penalty is supposed to be paid before proceeding with any type of resolution that involves a fine.
- Professional license suspension or revocation: If you work in a profession that requires licensure, then a criminal conviction could leave you with a suspended or revoked license. This, of course, can devastate the career that you’ve worked hard to build. It can also leave you on shaking financial footing.
- Driver’s license suspension or revocation: Depending on the offense in question, your driver’s license might also be on the line. Driver’s license suspension or revocation can certainly affect your ability to get to and from work, but it can also inhibit you from getting to school, picking up your children, and even caring for elderly loved ones. Again, the implications can be more far-reaching than you expect.
- Employment: Most employers run criminal background checks prior to hiring an applicant. This means a felony record can prevent you from obtaining a job in your field of choice. Your limited employment options may therefore leave you with less income and a less desirable occupation. It may also limit your ability to relocate.
- Housing: Although you shouldn’t be discriminated against in the housing context for having a criminal record, the truth of the matter is that many rental properties deny applicants who have a felony criminal conviction on their record. This means that you could end up struggling to find to a place to live and, when you do locate a residence, it may be something far less than you expected.
Use your anxiety as motivation
We know that’s a long list of potential penalties that may leave you fearful of the future. However, we don’t intend to scare you. Instead, we want you to recognize the importance of taking immediate action to protect your interests. Keep in mind that there very well may be strong criminal defense options at your disposal that can help you avoid some of those penalties mentioned above. Depending on the circumstances at hand, you may even be able to avoid all of them. You won’t know for sure until you put in the work that is necessary to develop a compelling criminal defense. If you think that you could benefit from assistance in developing your criminal defense, then we encourage you to reach out to a legal team with a track record of successfully defending those who have been accused of a crime.