Whether it is a simple misdemeanor or a complicated felony, there is more to fear from criminal charges than just jail time or a fine. The reality is that a blemish on your record can affect your life well into the future, even after you put the mistake behind you.
A criminal record can affect your chances of getting a job, may stop you from getting loans to go to college and can even show up when a landlord runs your background check before renting you a place to live. To maintain your grip on your future, it is important to keep your record as clean as possible.
Effects on employment
Even if you haven't had a run-in with the law for years, you might be surprised how past mistakes can come back to haunt you. If a potential employer decides to run a background check and your record has a blemish, it may cost you the job. In a world where there are often many qualified candidates applying for the same job, you can't afford to have anything standing in your way.
Need a place to live?
When you fill out an application to rent a house, apartment or condo, the landlord may choose to run a background check to determine how likely you are to be a responsible tenant and pay rent on time. A criminal record is a definite red flag that may cause you to lose a place, even if an offense was from decades ago.
If you have a criminal record, you may also be denied basic civil liberties such as voting, the right to own a gun or the right to keep a driver's license. Each state is different in how it handles criminal records, but the more serious the penalty, the more consequences you face.
When you face criminal charges, your first concern should be keeping your record clean. Your best shot at doing this is to meet with a good defense attorney.