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Misdemeanor convictions may come with collateral consequences

People who are facing misdemeanor charges sometimes think that these aren’t a big deal. While being convicted of one won’t result in being labeled as a felon for life, there are still some serious consequences that you need to think about when you’re working on your defense strategy.

Your thoughts might turn to things like incarceration, fines, probation and community service. You also need to consider the collateral consequences that might haunt you for life. These can have a significant negative impact on your life, and they don’t expire when you finish your court-imposed sentence.

Financial woes

A criminal case can have a detrimental impact on your finances. Not only is this because of things like court costs, fines and lawyer fees, it can also come from the effects a conviction has on your career. Some employers are unwilling or unable to hire or retain employees who have a criminal conviction. You may realize it’s hard to find a job with the criminal conviction on your record.

The money problems you have because of this can make it hard to afford the quality of life you’re accustomed to. Finding and affording housing, insurance and other similar basic needs might be a challenge.

Societal changes

When you have a criminal charge, you may find that some of your friends back away from you. This can be difficult to deal with, but there might not be anything you can do. Society may automatically assume you’re guilty even if the court doesn’t find you guilty.

In some cases, the changes are due to penalties of the conviction. For example, you might not be able to go out with friends as often if you’re convicted of drunk driving. This may be because you can’t drive. Your money might also be tight because of the financial obligations. Another example is that you may be unable to return to a specific store or other business if you were accused of stealing from it.

One way that you may be able to combat these adverse repercussions is by working on your defense strategy. Some individuals are able to work out plea deals that result in their being able to plead guilty to a less serious charge. In some cases, diversion programs are available that can help to keep the matter off their criminal record. Discuss the options with your attorney so you can make choices that you feel are best for you.