The Long-Term Consequences of a Criminal Charge


Criminal convictions can have severe and potentially long-term impacts on a person’s life in Tennessee and elsewhere. To be found guilty and convicted of a criminal offense in the state of Tennessee, the prosecutor assigned to your case bears the burden of proof. To convict you, they must make a case that fulfills all legal elements of the underlying criminal offense you have been charged with and proves it beyond any doubt.

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While everyone is innocent until proven guilty, even being charged with a criminal offense as minor as a Class C misdemeanor in Tennessee can have long-term effects on your life. Even if found innocent in court, a criminal charge casts a long shadow on an individual’s future in every aspect of life. This article will shed some light on these consequences’ most prominent long-term impacts.

The Effect of a Criminal Record on Professional Life

For any individual, having a criminal record can be particularly limiting when it comes to their professional lives. Like in any state, most employers in Tennessee conduct thorough background checks on potential employees, especially in healthcare, education, and the government.

Since these sectors demand a high degree of security and trust, a criminal record can bar people from obtaining jobs in several industries. Even in professions that do not demand a lot of trust and security, a criminal record can severely limit your chances of even being selected for interviews – at least for well-paying job opportunities.

The Long-Term Consequences of Criminal Charges on Other Aspects of Life

Whether a felony or a misdemeanor offense, a criminal record can impact other areas of your life, including:

  • Loans & Student Loans: Many lenders typically deny loan applications for people facing pending criminal charges because they consider a criminal record as a factor that makes them higher-risk borrowers. While a criminal record does not automatically make people ineligible for financial aid in college, the specific nature of the charges can make it more challenging to qualify for student loans.
  • Immigration Status: If you are immigrating to the US, criminal charges on your record can result in your citizenship being denied and deportation.
  • Housing Situation: Besides difficulties in obtaining mortgages and other loans, a criminal record can also jeopardize your living situation. Many landlords conduct background checks and avoid renting to individuals with criminal records.
  • Voting Rights: In Tennessee, like most other states, you can lose the right to do your civic duty to vote or serve on a jury.
  • Custody: In custody battles, judges will always prioritize the best interests of the children to determine whom they will reward the custody to. If you have a criminal record, it can bring your ability to be a good parent into question, decreasing your chances of being awarded custody.

Mitigating the Consequences of a Criminal Charge

A criminal record, whether or not accompanied by a conviction, can create an overwhelming situation for anyone. That said, these challenges can be addressed with adequate legal help. An experienced criminal defense lawyer can help you overcome many of these challenges by mounting a strong defense to obtain a not-guilty verdict and, if possible, getting your criminal record expunged.

Fortunately, there are several community support systems available in Nashville to help individuals rebuild their lives. Proactively seeking legal advice early and rehabilitation programs can help you navigate these challenges to lead a happier and fuller life.


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