Criminal charges for impaired driving or other traffic violations can be stressful and embarrassing. Often, people want to do whatever they can to put their mistake behind them, which, in some cases, could mean pleading guilty. However, this can be another misstep.
If you find yourself in this position, you should have a clear understanding of what it can mean to have a criminal record because it can help you recognize the importance of defending against the charges.
Consequences of a criminal record
If you are convicted or plead guilty to a criminal offence, you will likely have a criminal record. This record will affect your life in myriad ways, some of which can be surprisingly disruptive.
- Financial consequences – Fines and other monetary penalties can result from a criminal offence. Further, depending on the charge, you could lose insurance. If you want to clear your record through discharge or pardon, that too can cost money.
- Professional and academic consequences – Having a criminal record can disqualify you from jobs and educational opportunities.
- Lifestyle consequences – If you travel to the United States or want to volunteer to coach your child’s sports team, having a criminal record can prevent you from doing that.
- Familial consequences – A criminal record can present serious obstacles for parents looking to adopt a child or pursue custody rights.
- Criminal consequences – Any criminal charge can lead to jail time, probation or fines. However, someone with a criminal record will typically face harsher punishments for subsequent offences.
Some of these consequences may not apply to you, but you should know that a criminal record will affect you in some ways after conviction or pleading guilty. In other words, it can be more difficult to put the mistake behind you than you think.
As such, it is crucial to explore your legal options to defend against charges you are facing, even if they seem insignificant. While it can seem intimidating or even daunting to go to court and contest criminal allegations against you, doing so can prove to be critical in protecting your future.