Effects of a Criminal Record

If you are facing criminal charges for the first time in West Palm Beach and aren’t sure if you should hire a criminal defense attorney, or if you should just “plead guilty,” I want you to pause for a moment and consider the effects of a criminal record on your future.

When men and women plead guilty to criminal offenses or when they are found guilty by a court of law, they go up against some serious hurdles in society. If you knew about the “collateral consequences” of a criminal conviction, you may think twice before throwing in the towel and taking the full wrath of the criminal justice system.

If you knew what life after a criminal conviction was like, you’d find it eye-opening that’s for sure. Just ask anyone with a criminal record what it’s like to apply for a professional license, obtain a college scholarship, get on to a college sports team, find a good job, or rent an apartment or house after probation, community supervision or parole ends.

There are thousands of state and federal statutes that limit the actions and movements of people with criminal records. Some of them determine where they can live, when they can travel, when they have to report to a probation officer, and whether or not they can consume alcohol. Others, outright ban them from voting, possessing a firearm, and travelling out of the area. Such heavy regulations make it nearly impossible for convicted criminals to assimilate back into society.

Often, the societal consequences of a criminal conviction, such as the extreme difficulty finding a good-paying job, drive these individuals straight back to a “life of crime” where they can make more cash illegally than they can in honorable, low-paying jobs. It’s a vicious cycle.

Questions to Ask an Attorney

If you’re facing misdemeanor or felony criminal charges in Florida, it’s important that you understand not only the criminal consequences of a conviction, but the social consequences of a conviction, such as: loss of professional licenses, loss of college tuition, employment problems, difficulty renting an apartment or house, the inability to vote, removal proceedings (immigrants), the inability to possess firearms, and how arrests and convictions come up on background checks.

If you’re facing criminal charges, ask these questions of an attorney:

  • Which careers are off-limits for felons?
  • Which convictions bar me from possessing a firearm?
  • Which convictions trigger deportation proceedings?
  • Which convictions lead to the loss of voting rights?
  • Can I consume alcohol if I’m convicted? (alcohol offenses)
  • Which convictions affect professional licenses?
  • Can I be fired if I don’t disclose my criminal conviction?
  • Can I get kicked out of college if I don’t tell the school about my conviction?

For millions of people in the United States, living with a criminal record is a harsh reality, and undoubtedly, they face obstacles for many years after paying for their mistakes. For many, the seemingly endless scrutiny and judgement they face is much like a “second prison,” which holds them back from being productive members of society and realizing their true potential.

Facing criminal charges in West Palm Beach, Florida? Contact my criminal defense firm today at (561) 475-2752 for a free consultation!


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