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How Does Your Criminal Case Affect Your Career?


Every so often, you will hear stories about people whose career prospects improved after they got convicted of a crime.  In today’s gossip-hungry world, you can probably make money after you get out of prison by granting interviews to journalists and YouTubers and talking about the crime to which you pleaded guilty, if the story is sleazy enough.  If you look for inspiring stories online about people who overcame adversity, you will probably find a story of someone who served a prison sentence for drug crimes, got sober in prison, and found a supportive community of recovering addicts after her release; one of these friends helped her find a job, which she has kept for years.  You might even find someone who learned a foreign language while incarcerated and has been working as a translator since he got out.  For most people, though, the reality is much less glamorous.  A prison sentence interrupts your work history, and when prospective employers do a background check, you are lucky if they ask you to talk about your criminal conviction, instead of just ghosting you.  Here, our Miami criminal defense lawyer explains how a criminal case can affect your work life before, during, and after your sentence.

The Presumption of Innocence Does Not Apply in the Court of Public Opinion

The comments section on YouTube metes out worse punishment than any court of law, and often for the most trivial reasons.  If the state accuses you of a crime, you have the right to due process of law.  Only when the court determines that letting a defendant go free would interfere with the judicial process does the state keep defendants in jail while their cases are pending; even then, you can make a case for why the court should release you until your trial.  Meanwhile, everyone on social media has already decided that you are an incorrigible criminal.

It is easy enough to ignore the gossip on the Internet, but unfortunately, employers care more about their own reputations than they do about due process.  Therefore, you often hear that an employer has fired a defendant or placed him or her on leave while the criminal case is pending.  This is even more likely to happen if the defendant works for a public sector employer such as a police department or a school.

It is probably futile to try to persuade your employer to keep you employed while your case is pending.  The best you can do is work for the best outcome in your criminal case.  Exercise your right to remain silent.  Posting about your case on social media will only give the prosecution more evidence to use against you.  Worry about sorting things out with your employer once the court drops your charges or you get acquitted or take a plea deal.

Seeking Employment When Criminal Cases Show Up on Your Background Check

One of the biggest challenges to rebuilding your life after an interaction with the criminal justice system is the fact that records of your arrests and convictions are visible on background checks.  Getting a record expunged is a laborious process, but if you choose to go this route, your chances of success are better if you work with a lawyer.  If you have not yet been convicted of a crime, it is worth your while to hire a criminal defense lawyer who will give you the best advice and provide the most thoughtful defenses, even though the court will appoint a public defender to your case if you do not hire a lawyer.  If you already have a conviction on your record and prospective employers ask you about it, answer truthfully, and highlight the efforts you have made since your conviction to lead a productive and law-abiding life.

Restrictions on Employment Can Be Part of Your Sentence

Judges have great flexibility in setting the terms of probation.  For example, they can order you to remain employed; quitting your job can be considered a probation violation.  Likewise, the court can permanently bar you from working in a certain profession.  For example, police officers convicted of committing crimes in the line of duty may be prohibited from working in law enforcement.  If you get convicted of a crime against children, such as possession of child exploitative content, the court can forbid you to work in schools or other workplaces where you will be near minors.

Contact Our Criminal Defense Attorneys

A South Florida criminal defense lawyer can help you defend yourself against criminal charges so that you can avoid interruption to your career.  Contact Ratzan & Faccidomo in Miami, Florida for a free, confidential consultation about your case.



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