We’ve all watched television dramas, reality shows, and movies where police officers swoop in and arrest the “bad guy.” The suspect is typically put in handcuffs, read their Miranda Rights and placed in the back of the police cruisers. The suspect is then transported to the local police station where they are “booked,” fingerprinted, and photographed. Depending on the severity of the crime, some suspects are interrogated by multiple officers or detectives who are trained in various techniques to obtain information including the use of deceit, lies and even extortion. Today, reality TV shows us what happens after a person is arrested and charged, broadcasting how the justice system handles trials. Sometimes, we’re even able to see entire trials, as with the Jodi Arias case. Many of us are captivated by the intrigue of these glimpses into the criminal justice system. In spite of our easy access to the inner workings of the justice system, few of us realize what truly happens to individuals facing criminal charges after the cameras stop rolling.
We all know the Courts have the authority to impose fines and jail time for violating the law. However, few people understand that in most states throughout the country (including Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia), there are long-term consequences outside of the criminal justice system for even the most minor of criminal offenses. These consequences can have a greater and longer lasting impact on a person’s life than the penalty imposed by the Court. Long after you pay your fine in a traffic case, your motor vehicle record continues to show evidence of offense in the form of points. These points go on your record increasing your car insurance premiums and possibly affecting your ability to qualify for other benefits. A charge of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs often results in an automatic loss of your driving privilege. Without a license, it’s difficult to get to work. Because of this, in many instances, people are terminated by their employer. A felony conviction would prohibit you from being able to vote or own a firearm. In some instances it could lead to your name being placed on various crime registries published throughout the country. In all of these situations, your employment, professional license, career, and livelihood could be placed in serious jeopardy.
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When facing a potentially life altering situation, no one should have to go through it alone. Ashcraft & Gerel is committed to guiding you through the legal process and defending your rights. If you, a friend or family member is facing criminal charges it is important to know and understand all of these factors before making a decision in Court. As an experienced criminal attorney, it would be my pleasure to advise you of your rights in the criminal justice system as well as discuss all of the possible consequences you are facing. Contact us today if you or someone you love is charged with a crime.