If a court finds you guilty of a criminal charge, they will hand you a sentence. It might involve time behind bars, fines, community service or attendance in education programs.
Some charges can lead to license suspicion or restrictions, such as ignition interlock systems.
As painful as any of those things will be, they will eventually pass. Yet, the effects of the conviction might not stop once you have completed your sentence.
Here are some longer-lasting effects to consider:
1. You lose important relationships
Imagine you are charged with a violent crime or one of sexual nature. People you have been close to for years may decide they no longer want to be around you. Despite your pleas of innocence, some may insist that if the law found you guilty, you must have been in the wrong.
2. You lose employment opportunities
A criminal record is enough to put some employers off even the most qualified candidates. Even organizations looking for someone to fulfill a voluntary role may consider you no longer have the moral substance they want.
Depending on the crime, certain lines of work (whether paid or not) may be off-limits altogether, even if the employer is willing. For example, those that involve driving or working with children or require you to hold an alcohol license.
3. You suffer mentally or physically
Not everyone copes well with time in prison. They can be incredibly violent places, and you might experience physical harm or long-term trauma.
Learning more about your defense options reduces the chance you need to deal with any of these side effects of a conviction.