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The Long-Term Consequences Of Criminal Convictions


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While you might think that the consequences of a criminal conviction only pertain to time in jail and hefty legal fines, there are actually a myriad of additional long-term consequences that can result from various criminal charges. 

The intent of this blog is to shed light on the repercussions that are often overlooked or underestimated when it comes to a criminal offense, so that you might make informed decisions if you find yourself in a compromising position with the laws in California. 

The Long-Term Consequences Of Criminal Convictions

Employment Challenges

The first of several long-term consequences that will be covered in this blog is employment challenges. When you’re convicted of a criminal offense, either misdemeanor or felony, it is possible that you can lose your job. For example, for California teachers, even those who are tenured, the conviction of a crime is cause for dismissal. Other jobs that follow suit include, government positions, financial services, childcare services, first responder or military service, and more. 

Let’s say your job doesn’t find out about your criminal conviction, but at some point down the road you are let go for other reasons, or want to pursue a different career path, California employers have the right to run a background check and consider criminal convictions after making you an offer. This means they cannot inquire about your criminal history pre-employment. 

However, under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), an employer is required to conduct an assessment of you (the applicant) to determine if your conviction has a “direct and adverse relationship with the specific duties of the job.” If they do, they have to relay that information to you and allow you the chance to respond. This means that while you might be able to explain yourself, employer’s do have somewhat of an “out” when hiring you.

It’s important that you’re aware of your legal rights when it comes to employment after conviction. Employers are not allowed to ask about or consider convictions that have been expunged, sealed, dismissed, or statutorily eradicated. They also cannot consider convictions that you’ve received a Certificate of Rehabilitation or pardon for. 

Educational Opportunities

Educational opportunities are another aspect of your life that can be affected by criminal convictions, depending on what phase of life you’re currently in. Minors who’ve been convicted of a crime in California may have to attend an alternative education program in place of public school, in addition to the other legal consequences. They may also lose any scholarships depending on school policies (this can apply to private K-12 schools and colleges). 

Financial Consequences

Criminal conviction can also take a huge toll on your financial situation. As previously mentioned, you might lose your job, or have difficulty finding work after committing a criminal offense. If there is a halt in your income, you may not be able to support yourself or your family. This can lead to losing your home, vehicle, and other important belongings. 

You may also be unable to afford legal representation. Because defense lawyers play such a pivotal role in protecting their clients’ rights, the lack of one can lead to more severe legal consequences like longer jail/prison sentences and probation, as well as significant fines. 

Additionally, if you committed a crime like DUI, you may see increases in the cost of your auto insurance. In fact, on average, insurance increases by 164% after a DUI in California. This is 99% higher than the U.S. average. 

Social Stigma

Though this might not be the first consequence we consider when it comes to a criminal conviction, it can be the one that sticks around the longest. Like every other consequence, social stigma is circumstantial. The crime you committed, the severity (like whether or not you brought harm to someone else), and other details will ultimately affect the extent in which your reputation is harmed, but it’s something that cannot be outrun. The choices you make will follow you, and a criminal conviction has the potential to affect your personal relationships, whether that be with a spouse, your children, your extended family, or your friends. It’s possible that the people you love most will see you differently than before, and they may even struggle to trust or accept you.  

Loss Of Civil Rights

There are a variety of civil rights that convicted felons might lose, including the right to vote, the right to bear arms, possible travel restrictions, loss of parental rights, and more. 

Immigration Consequences

If you’ve been convicted of a crime in or even outside of the U.S., your ability to reside in the U.S. as a non-citizen can be affected. It can also affect those who are already living in the U.S. with a green card. The Immigration and Nationality Act has waivers available for most crimes, but not for aggravated felonies like murder, drug trafficking and more. Those found guilty of these crimes can be subject to deportation. 

How Strongest Defense Can Help You

If you’ve been arrested for a criminal offense, the time to act is now! Whether you’ve been charged with DUI, aggravated assault, domestic violence, drug crimes, white collar crimes, or something else, we will work diligently to combat the case and help you beat the charges. At Strongest Defense, founder David Lehr, is a former prosecutor turned criminal defense attorney, so he has experience on both sides of the courtroom. His familiarity with the tactics that will be used against you can give you an advantage in reaching a favorable outcome. 

If an existing criminal record is what’s bothering you, we can help you understand if expungement is an option. Expungement is a way of cleaning your record. Essentially, if you’ve completed probation, paid all fines and restitution, and have no additional charges, you may be eligible for this legal recourse, which can enhance job prospects, help restore your reputation, boost your self-esteem, and overall help to reverse the consequences mentioned in this blog. It’s important to discuss the circumstances of your conviction with us to determine if expungement is possible for you.

We know that facing a criminal conviction can be extremely frightening and overwhelming, but you don’t have to do it alone. Call Strongest Defense today to schedule a free consultation and allow us to explain your legal options, protect your rights, and advocate for your future. When you’re ready to leave your mistake in the past, we can be your trusted guide.