Criminal charges often have specific penalties attached to them. Everything from the nature of the offense to a person’s previous record will influence what penalties they face and the severity of the charges.
Criminal acts can result in many different penalties, including fines, community service, probation, mandatory counseling and incarceration. Those facing criminal charges often become so focused on the potential penalties that they don’t stop to think about the broader implications of a conviction.
Even if you avoid the worst criminal penalties by pleading guilty, you will wind up with a criminal record that will have a lasting impact on your career. The following four effects are all reasons why many people need to carefully consider defending themselves rather than pleading guilty.
A criminal record will slow your growth
Maybe you’ve plateaued as far as advancement goes at your job. You know that you need to move on to a bigger company to get a better position in the same field. Unfortunately, any new company that you apply to is going to check your criminal record and may not hire you if you have blemishes.
In fact, your current employer could very well choose not to promote you if they do background checks as part of their internal promotion process, which is an increasingly common practice for businesses.
A conviction could affect your professional licensing
Jobs of all sorts, from teaching to various medical careers, require state licensing for you to work. If the state licensing board for your profession discovers your criminal conviction or if someone files a complaint about your behavior or criminal charges, your license may come up for review and you could face penalties up to the loss of your professional license.
You may struggle to continue your education
Taking ongoing courses or pursuing a degree can be a way to increase your earning potential or improve your position in an industry. A criminal conviction may prevent prestigious schools from enrolling you and could also limit your options for scholarships and federal student aid.
Your reputation and networking options may suffer
Not all the career effects of a conviction are totally professional. There is also the personal side of your professional life to consider. When people know that you have pleaded guilty to a criminal offense, they will likely assume you were guilty regardless of what you tell them.
The stigma attached to criminal behavior could affect your ability to socialize with co-workers or professionals in your industry. Not only could your reputation locally suffer, but your ability to network and grow your career opportunities could also get hurt because of criminal charges.
Defending yourself prevents not only these professional consequences but also the criminal penalties many people are keen to avoid.