If you have been accused of a crime, your first priority probably minimizing the immediate consequences you are facing. Even relatively minor crimes can result in significant penalties, including substantial fines and jail time. Fortunately, the maximum penalties are rarely imposed for first-time offenders, and the vast majority of cases are settled through a plea bargain arrangement that often spares defendants from the most serious consequences they could face.
A Conviction Can Result in Serious and Unforeseen Consequences
It is important to understand that accepting a plea bargain involves pleading “guilty,” which almost always results in a conviction being entered into your criminal record. A common and significant exception to this rule is when you plead guilty and enter into a diversionary program which will result in the dismissal of the case if you comply with certain terms. Here are some of the ways that being convicted of a crime can affect you for years to come.
It Can Make it Difficult to Get a Job
More and more employers are making a criminal background check a standard part of their hiring process. Many employers are reluctant to hire a person with a criminal record, even if the offense was a minor one. As a result, a criminal conviction can have a significant impact on your job opportunities for years to come.
A Conviction May Have Immigration Consequences
If you are not a U.S. citizen, a criminal conviction could have consequences with regard to your immigration status. While most minor offenses will not have immigration consequences, federal immigration authorities do not always agree with state law regarding what is considered a “minor” offense. It is important, therefore to fully explore the immigration consequences of a guilty plea with an experienced lawyer.
A Conviction Can Damage Your Reputation
Criminal convictions are a matter of public record and are generally viewable to the general public. As a result, pleading guilty to a crime can do significant damage to your reputation within your community.
It Is Important to Weigh All of Your Options
The consequences of a criminal conviction can last for years. As a result, if you are facing a criminal case, it is important to weigh all of your options. In some cases, it may be best to simply take a plea bargain offer that minimizes the immediate consequences of a conviction; in others, it may make sense to take your case to trial. The best way to determine how to proceed is to discuss your case with an experienced attorney familiar with New Jersey criminal law.
Call 732-422-1000 today to schedule a case evaluation.
If you have been accused of a crime, you should call a New Jersey criminal defense lawyer as soon as you can. To schedule a consultation, call Borrus, Goldin, Foley, Vignuolo, Hyman & Stahl, P.C. today at 732-422-1000 or contact us online.