Not all crimes carry the same gravity of consequences. However, even relatively minor infractions could cause you some long-lasting repercussions.
Jail time may seem like the most serious consequence of criminal charges. However, there are many other long-term consequences that do not go into effect until after you have served your sentence.
Even if you do not have to spend time in jail, you may be on probation after a conviction. Some probation sentences last for years. The terms involved with serving probation may restrict some of your personal freedoms considerably. Moreover, violating probation could result in incarceration.
Employment and housing
Many employers’ background checks include a criminal record search. One or more prior convictions can prevent you from getting a job that you really want. You could also become ineligible for a professional license. Any misdemeanor or felony conviction could make you an unappealing housing applicant if you apply to rent an apartment or purchase a condominium.
It may be possible to seek expungement of certain offenses from your criminal record. However, you may have to wait until some time after the date of your conviction before you become eligible to make a petition for expungement.
Certain types of offenses such as drunk driving or drug possession could make your car insurance rates spike. Even worse, some carriers may outright refuse to offer you any coverage.
Ultimately, you should never take criminal charges lightly. A proactive and strategic legal response can help to prevent a criminal conviction from jeopardizing your goals in the future.