If you find yourself arrested and charged with a crime in North Carolina, your immediate concerns are likely to be the potential penalties. A criminal conviction could mean fines, probation or jail time. The specific penalties depend on the crime itself and your criminal record.
One of the more permanent consequences that you might not initially consider is the effect on your career. Even if the criminal charges are eventually dropped or you are found not guilty, just the fact that you were charged with a crime can cause major career damage and impact your professional reputation.
Many successful careers depend on having a certain level of education or credentials. A criminal conviction might prevent you from getting into a school or fail a background or character check for a professional license.
You could get accepted into a school, but some criminal convictions generally make you temporarily ineligible for federal student aid. You might also find that you do not qualify for certain scholarships.
Your current employment
A criminal charge could affect your current job. Although you may not be immediately fired, you might find that you are not promoted or no longer receive certain benefits. Subtle changes like this are a sign that your employer now thinks of you differently because of your criminal charge.
Additionally, you could be prohibited from performing certain job duties or tasks. Your job could require you to be around children, and a criminal charge for a drug crime or a crime involving a minor could mean you are forbidden to be around children if you are convicted.
If your job requires a license, that license could be in danger if you are convicted of a crime. You may lose the license if you already hold it and be unable to do your job, leading to job loss. If you were planning to get the license, you may no longer be eligible.
A common example of this is a commercial driver’s license. A drunk driving conviction usually leads to the loss of a commercial driver’s license, which often costs a driver their job.
Finding a new job after a criminal conviction is not impossible, but you will find it is much more difficult. Many employers will likely automatically reject your application once they see a criminal conviction, and if you get an interview, you will often be at a disadvantage compared with other applicants with no criminal history.
It should be clear that you have a lot to lose if you are convicted of a crime, whether it is a felony or a misdemeanor. Therefore, an immediate and aggressive defense is usually necessary when you are accused of a crime.
With the right legal strategies, you can face your criminal charge and develop potential defenses. A successful criminal defense can help you rebuild your career and professional reputation and get on with your life.