One of the scariest parts of facing a criminal charge is the potential to go to prison. Incarceration can exacerbate or cause mental health conditions. It can worsen addictive behavior and strain someone’s social connections.
The longer someone spends in state custody, the greater the effect their incarceration might have on their future. For many people, the fear of prison is the primary guiding force in their defense strategy. They may leap at the opportunity to take a plea bargain if they think it will prevent them from seeing the inside of a prison cell even if they know they are innocent.
Unfortunately, a guilty plea can have lasting effects on your life, even if you don’t have to go to jail. The charges will likely have a negative impact on your career prospects and financial stability.
You may not be able to switch jobs or secure promotions
A criminal record will absolutely hurt your job prospects. Performing a background check is commonly an early part of the hiring process. Even companies that already employ you will likely do a criminal background check if they plan to offer you a promotion.
Zero-tolerance policies for convictions can limit your options, and lying could also mean that you can’t get the job or have a constant risk of getting fired. Even if you have an explanation for the charges, they will likely hinder your ability to move up at your current company or take a good position at another business.
You might not be able to get a professional license or lose an existing one
Pennsylvania licenses professionals in a number of fields. They do this to ensure a certain standard among skilled professionals and protect the public from grifters and those without proper credentials or insurance.
Whether you work as a nurse or a funeral director, a criminal conviction might mean that you lose your license if you already work in a skilled profession. If you have long hoped to move up in your field and secure a professional license, a conviction might mean you no longer qualify for licensing.
Your criminal consequences could affect your job
Obviously, incarceration will keep you from doing your work. Losing your license to a drunk driving charge or not being able to travel for sales calls due to probation could also affect your job performance. Your employer may have to change your responsibilities or otherwise accommodate you, something they may not want to do.
Fighting pending criminal charges means missing work to go to court, but a successful defense will help you keep these charges from affecting your professional success for the rest of your life.