When people think about what happens should they commit a crime, their mind typically turns to jail time and fines. While this is very much the case, depending on the crime, there are other ways that having a criminal record can affect your life for years to come.
Being convicted of a crime and the consequences that come along with the conviction can follow you for a long time, even the rest of your life. In fact, the punishment may not end once you’ve served your time and paid your fines: prior convictions can affect your future finances, making it difficult to get back on track. Here are just some of the ways that you could be paying for your crime long after you’ve settled the fines and finish your jail time.
Many states in the United States are what is known as “employment at will,” or “right to work” states. This means that employees can fire you or refuse to hire you based on any number of reasons, as long as those reasons are not protected by law.
For example, employees cannot fire you because of your race, gender, sexual orientation or religion: those are protected by law. They can, however, fire you for any other reason, like the way you dress or that you don’t like the same things they do.
Ex-criminals are not supposed to be discriminated against when applying for a job, but employers can find any number reasons for not hiring you and pinning it on that rather than your record. This can make it very difficult to find a job once you are released or even for years to come. Even if you can get hired, you may find yourself on a lower wage or at a lower position than you would otherwise be qualified for.
Cascading Financial Problems
Being convicted of a crime and being unable to get employment can have a lasting financial impact on your life. Even if you have a job or find a new one, the financial problems may only continue to grow.
If you are convicted of a DUI, for example, you may not serve any jail time and you may not lose your current job, but the financial problems will soon start mounting. You will need to pay fines and a lawyer, and there’s a good chance your license will be restricted or revoked outright, This means that you will have trouble getting to and from you job, which may result in you losing hours or getting fired altogether, resulting in more money lost and you having a tougher time getting back on track.
Being convicted of a crime can start a series of problems that lead to financial trouble for a long time to come.
Your conviction will also affect other aspects of your life, sometimes forever. There are some states that have penalties for felons that will restrict their access to many services and privileges that other citizens enjoy.
Convicted felons cannot vote or own firearms. Landlords may be able to deny your application to rent a home based on your criminal past. And one of the most damaging penalties is that you may not be able to have your record expunged, meaning that your conviction will follow you around for the rest of your life, making it difficult for you to move on.
This can result in problems with your family as well, as they may choose not to live with you any longer because of the financial burdens you will be dealing with for the rest of your life.
What Can You Do?
The best thing to do when charged with any crime is to get a good lawyer. Public defendants are a great choice for many, but if you can afford to pay a lawyer, you should.
First, lawyers have more time and resources than a public defender might. This can result in the lawyer reducing your sentence or even getting the charges dropped, depending on your charges. Even if it costs you now, it may be better in the long run because the conviction won’t follow you for the rest of your life.
Obviously the best thing to do is to obey the laws and not commit crimes in the first place, but if you do need a lawyer, www.powersmccartan.com may be able to help.
Don’t let a criminal past determine your future.
Elise Ingram had a slightly wild childhood, getting into trouble with the police as a teenager and young adult until she saw the light and straightened out her ways. Sometimes her past still catches up with her; she wants to share with others what to do and say in this situation.