If you get arrested, you have to worry about criminal charges and the consequences of both court proceedings and a conviction. The idea that you might have to go to court to defend yourself could frighten you.
Some people worry about needing to hire an attorney or take time off of work for the court. These people may choose to plead guilty because they think that defending themselves could hurt their careers. However, pleading guilty to a charge could do more damage than trying to fight back against criminal allegations.
There are numerous ways in which criminal charges can have a lasting, negative effect on your professional success and income.
You could lose your job
Some employers have company policies about criminal convictions. They won’t hire someone with a criminal record, and they won’t keep you in their employ if you get convicted of an offense while working there.
Even if you don’t tell your employer about your brush with the criminal justice system and avoid missing work for the court, they may discover the issue on their own if they perform a background check to evaluate you for a raise or a promotion.
You can lose your professional license
North Carolina requires licenses for professions ranging from accountancy to medical work. You have to prove that you have the right education and that you meet the licensing standards to get or renew a professional license, a process that often includes restrictions on criminal records.
When you plead guilty to a criminal charge, you may put your professional license at risk. Even if you avoid immediate censure, the licensing board will likely learn about your conviction when the time comes to renew.
You may limit your educational opportunities
Some careers will require that you go back to school. Getting a degree or completing continuing education requirements can be significantly more difficult to accomplish when you have a criminal record. There will be limitations on what schools will enroll you and also on what financial aid you can receive because of your criminal record.
When you fight back against charges instead of pleading guilty, you can prevent a criminal record from limiting your opportunities in the future. Having a realistic understanding of what pending criminal charges may mean for your career may give you the motivation you need to defend yourself against those charges.