You face harsh consequences under Virginia’s sentencing guidelines if you are convicted of a criminal offense in our state. You could be sentenced to a lengthy prison or jail sentence where you lose your freedom and are separated from your family. Even if you a re placed on probation, you could have to meet with a probation officer regularly, be employed or in school, and undergo random drug or alcohol testing as a condition of remaining on probation.
You will have achieved a significant accomplishment when you successfully complete your sentence. Unfortunately, you will face long-term consequences in your life long after you finish your sentence. This is one reason you must hire an experienced criminal defense lawyer to defend you.
What Are the Long-Term Consequences of a Criminal Conviction in Virginia?
You need to understand how having a misdemeanor or felony conviction in Virginia will affect your life so you are prepared for the hurdles you can face for years or more after a conviction. Negative implications of a criminal conviction include the following:
Permanent Criminal Record
You will have a permanent criminal record if you are convicted of a crime in Virginia. This would be a public record that could be discovered by employers, landlords, and others when doing a background check, which could result in negative consequences in many aspects of your life.
Depending on the questions asked, you could have to disclose a criminal conviction on a job application. Employers may not even interview you, especially if you are applying for a professional, well-paying position.
You may not be able to continue to work in some professions. For example, if you are a truck driver, you may not be able to obtain a commercial license or continue to drive if you are convicted of DUI.
A criminal conviction could make it harder for you to obtain an auto, business, or personal loan or a mortgage. Some lenders would see a criminal conviction as limiting your ability to obtain a well-paying job and making you a credit risk. They could deny your loan application or require you to pay it back at a much higher interest rate.
A criminal conviction may not automatically bar you from obtaining a student loan, but it could make it harder to get your application approved. In addition, you may be ineligible for a loan if you are convicted of certain crimes.
Most landlords conduct a background check before approving a prospective tenant’s application. Especially in a tight rental market, your housing options might be severely limited.
Sexual Offense Registry
If you were convicted of a sexual offense, like rape or sexual battery, or certain violent crimes, you may have to register as a sex offender on Virginia’s Sexual Offense Registry. This could make it difficult for you to obtain employment or housing, and the Registry is a public record that anyone can search.
A criminal conviction could hurt your immigration status. You might be denied the right to remain in the country and obtain citizenship—and you may be deported.
You may have difficulty traveling to other countries if you have been convicted of a crime. Even if your conviction is for a misdemeanor offense, some countries may prohibit you from entering their country.
A criminal charge or conviction may affect your ability to obtain or keep a security clearance. You may be unable to work in your profession if you do not have a required security clearance.
When awarding custody, a judge must consider the child’s best interests in Virginia. They could decide you cannot be a good parent if you have been convicted of a crime, especially if the crime is domestic violence or another violent offense.
How Can You Avoid the Long-Term Consequences of a Criminal Conviction?
The best way to not experience the long-term ramifications of a criminal conviction is to retain a skilled criminal defense lawyer immediately after your arrest. They can mount an aggressive defense strategy that can result in the charges being dismissed or reduced to a less serious offense. Call our Manassas office at 888-DUI-LWYR or fill out our convenient online form to schedule your free initial consultation today to learn about our track record of success helping people like you and how we can defend you.