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How will a criminal charge affect my life?

If you're convicted of a crime, there are many consequences that you might face in addition to potential incarceration. Even if you are convicted but not sentenced to jail or prison time, you could still face other penalties and consequences that can have a major negative impact on your life. In many cases, simply being charged with a crime can have a significant effect on certain areas of your life.

Crimes are charged as felonies or misdemeanors. Felonies are the more serious and generally have harsher punishments. If aggravated factors are part of a felony, the sentence can be even worse. Besides fines and incarceration, some of the other punishments can include:

-- Probation

-- Restitution

-- House arrest

-- Community service

-- Restricted privileges

Many jobs will be out of your reach if you are convicted of a crime. Some employers may ask if you have been convicted of a crime, while others may ask if you have been charged with a crime. Other employers will run a background check to see what comes up.

You may lose some your civil liberties with a criminal conviction. In Missouri, for example, there are over 900 restricted liberties for someone who has been convicted of a criminal offense. These include not being able to vote, own a firearm or get a license for operating a fireworks display. Landlords can refuse to rent an apartment to anyone in the state who has a drug conviction. A student can be expelled from a public school if he or she has been convicted of a felony.

As you can see, it's important to present a strong defense against any criminal charge. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help you fight such charges.

Source: Money Crashers, "How a Criminal Record Affects Your Finances & Your Life," Mark Theoharis, accessed March 25, 2016

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