How Serious Is a Criminal Charge?

Criminal Defense Lawyer

A criminal charge can affect your life in multiple ways. As a domestic violence lawyer from a firm like the Law Office of Daniel J. Wright can explain, the consequences of a conviction are not limited to jail time, and there are more considerations to be aware of. Here are a few things that you should know about the practical implications of a criminal charge.

Misdemeanor vs. Felony

Some people think the distinction of a serious criminal charge is that it is a felony. In fact, misdemeanor convictions may also carry serious consequences. In most states, there is more than one level of misdemeanor. They are categorized as a first, second, or third degree. The higher the category is, the more consequential a conviction for the underlying offense will be.


One possible long-term repercussion of a criminal charge is probation. For a period of time that may be several years, you will be accountable to a probation officer. You will have to pay a monthly or annual fee to the state. You may have to contend with restrictions on your ability to travel, who you may associate with, and testing for controlled substances. An alleged violation could result in jail time.

If you are already on probation and you have a criminal charge, you must do everything reasonably possible to mount a strong legal defense. A conviction may constitute a violation of your probation and can result in your being remanded into custody.  


The monetary penalty for a criminal charge may be up to several thousand dollars. In some instances, the state will postpone the due date until after you have completed time in jail. Nevertheless, the state will pursue payment of a monetary judgment until you pay it in full.

Criminal Records

Having any type of conviction on your criminal record could create problems for you years later. A conviction is public information. It may not be possible to petition for expungement until several years after your conviction. Even after expungement, the record of your trial from the clerk of courts may not necessarily be private.

When you apply for a job, an employer may conduct a criminal history search and decline to make an offer of employment if you have a criminal conviction. Likewise, you could be turned down for residency at an apartment building where you’d like to live.

Ultimately, you should seek out information about the specific charge you are dealing with. Be ready to take decisive action so that you may prevent a criminal charge from taking over your life.

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