Having criminal charges against you can easily put your life in jeopardy.The threat of going to jail is the most obvious thought that most people have.
However, there are many other consequences you could face, other than going to jail if you get convicted.
There are a handful of ways in which a criminal record can affect your life in Texas.
1. You can lose your Driver’s License
A criminal charge, especially a DWI, can result in the loss of your driver’s license once you get convicted. In Texas, a criminal record that involves driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs can have your license suspended for up to 180 days. You might also be required to take a 15-hour program in drug education before you get back your license.
2. You can lose your income and any future job opportunities
If you get convicted you may get fired by your employer. You can also end up missing out on future job opportunities. Most employers do a background check before hiring an employee. Due to this, your application may get turned down when they realize that you have a misdemeanor or a felony record.
Additionally, if you work under a professional licensing board, let’s say, in the field of nursing or counseling, you can have your license taken away. This can make it hard for you to secure a job in those fields again in the future.
3. Higher education opportunities
If you are a student, at the very least, you should expect a case hearing before your school’s disciplinary board. And as a result, may be suspended or expelled.
Additionally, you may be rendered ineligible to access federal financial aid for higher education and scholarships.
4. Gun ownership rights
According to Texas law, a convicted felon cannot be in possession of a firearm. The law only allows you to possess a firearm five years after your sentence gets discharged. So, if you own a gun, it may be taken away.
5. Housing opportunities
You might find it difficult to find a house to rent after being released from prison. This is especially for felons whose offenses included a sex crime, drugs, crime against a child or violence.
Landlords also have the right to evict a tenant who has been convicted of a violation of a law detrimental to the welfare and safety of other residents.
6. Voting rights
Though often overlooked, criminal charges might deny you the right to vote for your preferred candidates in an election. In Texas, you are not allowed to vote until your sentence, parole or probation is complete.
7. Immigration status
Non-citizens living in Texas face the risk of being deported if convicted of a crime. For visa or green card holders, you can jeopardize your status since the crime may be deemed as an “aggravated felony” or “crime of moral turpitude” by the U.S immigration law.
In addition to these, a criminal record can have a significant impact on your social life. It can affect how society views you, treats you and thinks of you. Even in cases where you have been wrongfully accused, the social stigma surrounding your case can last for a lifetime.
Guilty or not guilty, don’t let criminal charges haunt you for the rest of your life
As you can see, criminal charges can have a far-reaching negative impact on your entire life and set you up for difficulties and discrimination, even after you have turned a corner.
However, you can prevent a conviction by putting up a well planned and executed defense. If you are facing criminal charges, your efforts should be geared towards proving your innocence. And the best approach to this is avoiding self-representation and hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney.
Why Self-representation is not a good idea;
- Inadequate preparation for your trial
While representing yourself, identifying or understanding the appropriate and applicable laws for your case might be difficult. You might also find it difficult to prepare the evidence with written briefs and affidavits.
- Court hearings
During self-representation, you are expected to adhere to courtroom etiquette and comply with court directions and orders. You also expected to make oral presentations and physical exhibits according to the legal principles and statutes. This is tricky if you don’t have any prior courtroom experience.
Even for lawyers, it is common to feel inadequate to draft an effective pleading. This will be even harder for you, making it difficult to have a fair trial, and hopefully proving your innocence.
Despite the benefit of attracting no legal fees, self-representation is not a good idea when facing criminal charges. Having a North Texas criminal defense attorney on your side means that you’ll get better results and a fair trial during your case. And this might be the difference between a conviction that might haunt your life and being proved not guilty. Be smart, follow our guidelines on hiring an attorney and go out and get one!