What are the consequences of a conviction?

Much has been said on this blog about the long-term consequences of a criminal conviction. Though one's mind jumps to incarceration as the result of a conviction, that is only one of the results and even that eventually comes to an end, depending on the type of crime one has been convicted of. But, once a Massachusetts resident becomes entangled with the criminal justice system, they find themselves getting pulled into it again and again. However, there are other, equally distressing consequences of this entanglement.

First of all, employed people may find themselves without a job. While an employer is not allowed to terminate someone suddenly because of their race or religion, they are allowed to fire someone because they were arrested and missed work, because they went to court due to the charges and even if someone was questioned in relation to a crime. This can leave someone without a job and a steady source of income, even if they were not convicted or even charged. If the conviction is related to drunk driving charges, then even if someone has a job, they may not be able to get to their job because they no longer have a license.

Those convicted of crimes may find their liberties restricted in various ways. For example, landlords can deny leasing their house to someone convicted of crimes involving controlled substances; schools can expel someone convicted of a felony; someone convicted of a felony may not be able to vote, own a firearm or serve as an executor of an estate. This is just a small number of ways in which civil liberties are restricted as a result of a conviction-many states have extensive laws regulating what convicts can and cannot do.

Understanding the consequences of one's actions are essential to understanding why it is so important to fight criminal charges aggressively. A good criminal defense is one that attacks various prongs of the prosecution's case and an experienced lawyer may be able to help those facing criminal charges prepare a defense.

Source: Money Crashers, "How a Criminal Record Affects Your Finances & Your Life," accessed September 19, 2017

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