If police have arrested you and you are facing charges in West Virginia, the situation may not only have immediate but also far-reaching and long-term implications in multiple areas of your life. The adverse effects of an arrest begin right away when you have to call your family (especially if it’s a spouse) to tell them that you’re in jail. Beyond that, if a judge hands down a criminal conviction, you might continue to face consequences for a long time.
The most obvious consequence of a criminal conviction is the sentence you must serve. What that is, exactly, depends on the details of your case. You might have to spend time in jail, pay a substantial fine, perform community service, serve probation or incur several other penalties. Besides sentencing, your conviction can have consequences in other areas of your life, as well.
Did your criminal conviction involve a felony crime?
The collateral consequences of a criminal conviction typically vary according to the crime. If you faced felony charges, then some of the consequences you face will include losing certain freedoms and liberties. For example, with a felony crime on your record, you may not vote in a government election. The court may also prohibit you from firearm possession.
It might be difficult to find a job following your conviction
Many West Virginia employers run background checks on prospective employees. If you have a criminal conviction on your record, you might get passed over for the job, especially if the type of conviction would impede your ability to do the job in question. For instance, if you have a drunk driving conviction and are applying for a job that requires driving, the employer might not want to take a chance on hiring you.
In certain circumstances, there might be certain types of work the court prohibits you from doing. If you have an assault or child endangerment conviction, or a conviction for other types of physical crimes, sentencing might include a prohibition against working with children or the elderly.
An unfavorable court outcome could affect your college career
A criminal conviction might bring your college career to a screeching halt, especially if you were attending school on an academic or sports scholarship. School administrators will be aware of your conviction. They might decide to pull your funding. You might also undergo suspension or expulsion from school.
Can there ever be positive consequences from a criminal conviction?
If you made some bad choices that landed you in a heap of legal trouble, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll never get your life back on track. Many people in West Virginia and elsewhere can relate to your circumstances. Sometimes, good can come out of a bad situation, meaning that a conviction can have positive consequences in a person’s life. For example, if you received a DUI conviction, you might decide (or the court may order you) to enter a rehabilitation program, which may be helpful.
It’s correct to say, however, that most consequences of a conviction are negative, which is why it’s always best to employ a strong criminal defense to try to obtain the most favorable outcome possible in court.