Felony charges are the most serious type of criminal offense. They can result in a lengthy prison sentence and other harsh consequences.
Getting the charges dropped or securing an acquittal is a major victory for those charged with felonies. However, you may still face other ramifications from the charges. Here’s why.
1. Your criminal records will still be public.
Criminal charges are public information. They will show up on background checks and are easily obtainable online. Even if you didn’t get convicted, a criminal record can hamper your opportunities for getting a job, pursuing a higher education and getting a professional license.
For this reason, it’s important to seek expungement of your records. You can qualify for immediate expungement if your case was dismissed or you were found not guilty. A lawyer can guide you through the process.
2. You may still face damage to your reputation.
The presumption of innocence is a cornerstone of the criminal justice system in the United States. You have a constitutional right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Courts and prosecutors must be diligent in adhering to that standard.
The court of public opinion is another story. In serious and high-profile cases, your reputation may never be the same. As the O.J. Simpson trial in 1995 so clearly demonstrated, criminal allegations in highly publicized cases can permanently destroy the defendant’s career prospects and public image. This is especially true in small communities and in cases where the defendant holds a high-visibility position – for example, as a politician, teacher or leader. Social media often amplifies that impact. People are quick to rush to judgment without knowing the full picture.
Your attorney should develop a proactive strategy for handling the fallout from serious criminal allegations. A good defense will address these considerations out of the gate.