How Criminal Charges Can Ruin Your Finances
They say that crime doesn’t pay. Let’s ignore the fact that a lot of bankers seem to be able to get away with a plethora of crimes that make them even richer than they were before: in general, it’s the truth. But the adage doesn’t really encompass just how detrimental crime can be – or, at the very least, how detrimental a criminal charge can be.
Being charged with a crime can affect your financial and professional life in many ways. To some, this seems fair enough. After all, if you’ve committed a crime, then whatever comes upon you is just a problem you created yourself, right? But the problem is that even being charged with a crime for which you are later found innocent can affect your finances and employment opportunities.
And let’s say, hypothetically, that a crime was committed. Let’s not pretend that all crimes are alike. Even a misdemeanour – something so minor in the grand scheme of things, something that a lot of people you know may even have done and gotten away with! – can have tremendous negative effects, so much so that the overall punishment definitely seems to outweigh the crime.
We’re going to take a quick look at the ways in which criminal charges can affect your finances, and what you can do to lessen the problems.
Fines and other legal fees
Fines can really take it out of you when it comes to your finances. Let’s take littering, for example. In some states, littering can carry a fine of around $1000 – and if you don’t pay it, then things can really escalate. We’re not here to say that littering is something we should ignore – after all, it’s harmful and often very easy to not do – but let’s not ignore the fact that such a high fine can really negatively affect someone’s life.
And if you’re dealing with something a little more severe, regardless of whether or not you did it, you need to get a lawyer. And I’m sure you’re aware that lawyers are not cheap! Which isn’t to say you should represent yourself – on the contrary.
Effect on employment
Let’s say you’ve been charged with drug possession. Maybe you’re guilty, maybe you’re not. Maybe you’re guilty, but you’re simply being punished grossly by the system for a tiny amount of something relatively harmless. Such charges will appear on a criminal record – something that employers have the right to look at when considering you for employment. Employers also reserve the right to fire you in such a case. Although finances are tight, hiring a drug offense attorney is the way forward simply because they can help protect you from these kinds of outcomes.
But even if we don’t take being fired or losing employment opportunities in the future into account, we still have to remember that these cases require a lot of time from you – meaning that dealing with them means you may have to take time off work. This can affect your income in the short term, and affect your likelihood of raises and promotions in the long term.
Compensation and expungement
Remember that if you’re found innocent after being falsely accused that you can seek financial compensation in the form of a lawsuit. Otherwise, you may want to look into expungement to get a minor crime cleared from your record.