How Might Being Accused of a Serious Crime Affect My Life?
Being accused of a crime can drastically change your life. Whether you’re innocent and falsely accused, found not guilty at trial, or find the charges have been dropped, that criminal charge may always be on your record.
Whether or not you’re found guilty, you need to ensure you’ve taken the proper precautions to ensure your criminal record won’t continue to haunt you. Even one criminal charge can completely change your life.
The stress you’re under can drastically affect you and your family. If you’ve been accused of a serious crime, there are a few things you should keep in mind as the litigation process moves ahead.
Your Emotions Will Be Affected
Being accused of a serious crime is something that takes a lot out of you emotionally. Many people find this surprising, as they may not experience such strong emotions in their daily lives, then suddenly feel all sorts of things they usually won’t.
Many find themselves upset, angry, and afraid. Some may even develop long-term problems such as depression or anxiety-related illness. The litigation process is lengthy and can involve quite a bit of time away from family and loved ones. Occasionally, this stress manifests as long-term health issues.
Custody May Be Affected
If you have children, you may find that your rights to custody over your children can be affected. Even misdemeanor crimes can leave you without the ability to see your children.
If you’re charged with domestic abuse or other violent crimes, you’ll likely lose any custody of children you have. You may not be able to adopt children, either.
When it comes to adoption, you may be disallowed from adopting even if convicted of a misdemeanor offense related to a family.
In short, if you’re somebody who currently has children or is looking to adopt children, know that the crime you’re accused of can have lasting effects on your ability to parent.
Your Career May Be Affected
Many find that they need a college degree to pursue their career of choice, but many colleges will limit admission if you have any criminal record. Every college and university is different, but having a criminal record can set you back in college admission. You may even have more limited access to financial aid, depending on whether the crime was a sexual or drug-related offense.
You may also be unable to obtain proper licenses to do the job you’re trained to do. Being accused of a serious crime can limit your ability to get a license to become a nurse, for example, or make it impossible to renew an existing license.
Your Wallet May Be Affected
Hiring a criminal defense attorney can be expensive. Some attorneys charge a flat fee, while others may charge hourly fees and charge a retainer up-front before the case’s day in court.
However, there are some options for somebody experiencing severe financial hardship. If you qualify for a public defender, your attorney fees will be paid mainly by the state. Regardless if you have a public defender, you should expect to be spending at least a few hundred dollars on the cost of an attorney.
Court costs money, too. Even a simple case could cost you hundreds of dollars in court fees. And, if you live in a state with at-will employment laws, your employer can fire you for being charged with a crime, even if you are innocent.
What If I Was Falsely Accused?
Unfortunately, even a false accusation can leave you with a mark on your criminal record, and as stated above, can leave you looking for employment. If you’ve been falsely accused of a crime, there are a few things that you should do to minimize the impact of the accusation on your life and livelihood.
Understand The Accusation
Before you do anything, understand the seriousness of the crime you’re being accused of and what possible outcomes are. Even if you’re innocent, the police and judge, and jury may see you as guilty if you take the charges lightly.
Find A Course of Action
Your next step should be working with an attorney to learn what you should do. Retain an attorney while you are a suspect because your attorney may be able to help you take actions to prevent you from actually being charged with a crime. As such, if you’re never charged, that crime won’t end up on your record.
In some cases, your attorney may suggest taking no action. There are plenty of cases where you might be a suspect, but there is no evidence actually to prove you as one.
Your attorney will handle helping you compile any evidence you may have. Maybe you have movie tickets proving you were nowhere near the scene of the crime, or perhaps you have a record of clocking in at work. You might even be able to collect GPS data from your cell phone to prove your location.
All of these actions will help shield you from being charged with a crime you aren’t guilty of.
Hire An Experienced Attorney
The best way to prevent a severe criminal charge from disrupting your life is to hire a great attorney. At Schwartz Law, we represent you throughout every step of the litigation process.
We do more than provide you with a knowledgeable Atlanta Criminal Defense Lawyer — we hold steadfast in defense of your rights as a citizen.
Reach out to us now and get your free consultation. We’re ready to fight for you.