WHAT ARE THE CONSEQUENCES OF A CRIMINAL RECORD IN NORTH CAROLINA?
In North Carolina, an individual can be burdened with a criminal record not only for felony or misdemeanor convictions, but also for felony or misdemeanor charges that were dismissed. Because of this, it is far easier to accumulate a rap sheet then most people think. According to records, over 1.6 million North Carolinians (1 in 5 adults) have criminal records. But what are the consequences of having a criminal record.
Although many people think that the punishment for a crime is their biggest problem, in reality, the larger problem is the collateral consequences of having a criminal record. Once a person has a criminal record, there are various negative side effects or restrictions called collateral consequences that are imposed following criminal behavior. These collateral consequences prevent individuals with criminal records from successfully re-entering the community by limiting such things as employment to housing.
Loss of Civil Rights
Depending on the crime or charge that an individual is convicted of, the individual may lose access or have access restricted to a variety of civil rights. Often times, the individual is unaware of the implications of their actions until a much later time. This loss or restrictions could cause the individual to become ineligible for:
- Welfare benefits;
- Student loans;
- Voting rights;
- Jury duty;
- Professional licensure; or
- Gun ownership;
Along with the loss of civil rights, an individual is also faced with being looked down upon by the community at large. Although most people attempt to hide their criminal convictions, the question of a prior criminal record is raised in almost every job or lease application. Even if the person attempts to hide the truth, most employers or landlords will require a background check in order to learn the truth. Typically, employers or landlords will not hire or lease to a person with a criminal record.
Due to the negative collateral consequences of having a criminal record, it is important to consider the future ramifications of a criminal record. In an alarming new trend, prosecutors are eliminating jail time for individuals that are charged in exchange for guilty pleas to a crime. Although this reduces the immediate punishment an individual faces, the conviction will still create a criminal record that will subsantially alter the individual’s future. As such, it is important to consult and/or hire an attorney for your case.
If you or someone you know have been charged with a crime, it is important to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney that can help zealously defend your case. Contact Us at Minick Law, P.C. for a free consultation on your case.
James Minick is founder and C.E.O. of Minick Law, P.C. James is committed to providing top notch legal services through his team of highly specialized legal professionals. James will defend your rights.