How will a criminal conviction affect my future?

Presumably, you are asking this question because you or someone you know is facing criminal charges. If this is the case, it is wise to look to the future. Many defendants alleged to have committed a criminal act in Maryland focus on the present more than the future. They simply want as little prison time as possible. While this is understandable, it may cause some people to believe that upon conviction, they will serve out their sentence and then continue on with their lives.

As any good criminal defense lawyer will tell you, this is not typically the case, unfortunately. Known as collateral consequences, a criminal conviction will impact your life indefinitely, possibly forever. You will lose many of your rights and privileges as an American citizen, including:

— The privilege of holding a license in certain employment industries

— The privilege of gaining employment in industries that require background checks

— The right to possess a firearm, depending upon the crime

— The right to vote while imprisoned

— The right to receive food stamps or welfare, depending upon the crime

— The right to enlist in the armed forces

Along with the collateral consequences listed above, a conviction will affect your life on a more personal level as well. For many, this means losing valuable personal relationships and the respect of the community. In some cases, it can also send those convicted on a downward spiral in which they may continue to engage in behaviors that threaten their freedom.

With all of this at stake, it makes sense to expand your viewpoint to include the future if you are looking at criminal charges. In all cases, building a solid criminal defense is your first tool in preserving your freedom, your future and your rights.

Source: General Assembly of Maryland, Department of Legislative Services, “Collateral Consequences of a Criminal Conviction,” accessed Nov. 15, 2016

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