Being charged with a criminal offense puts a lot on the line. From posing
an immediate threat to your freedom to potentially changing the scope
of your future, a criminal conviction can have a tremendous impact on
your life, as well as the lives of your loved ones. With the assistance
of an experienced criminal defense attorney, you can put yourself in position
to better protect your rights, your freedom, and your future.
At Owenby Law, P.A., our Jacksonville criminal defense attorneys are passionate
about providing the aggressive and resourceful defense clients need when
facing all types of criminal charges. While we know it is imperative to
provide guidance to clients as they navigate the criminal justice system,
we also know it is of critical importance to devote the time, insight,
and resources needed to help them effectively protect their rights and
fight to defend them against the full scope of penalties and consequences
Whether you have been charged with a misdemeanor or a felony, it is important
to know that these charges can result in serious criminal penalties, including
possible terms of imprisonment (at least 1 year in prison for felony offenses),
fines and fees that can quickly add up, probation, and more. In some cases,
DUI, convicted individuals may also face penalties that include court-ordered
classes or treatment and a suspension or revocation of their driver’s license.
While these criminal penalties are statutory and part of Florida’s
criminal code, they are not the only repercussions one can face when convicted
of a crime. To gain a better understanding of the collateral consequences
of a criminal conviction, consider the following:
Limited Opportunities – A criminal conviction is recorded permanently on your criminal
record, though it may be expunged in some cases where crimes occurred as a
juvenile or when enough time has passed since the offense. For many convicted individuals,
the stain of a criminal conviction can place a number of limitations on
opportunities you may have otherwise taken advantage of. This includes
prospective job opportunities, applications for housing, and even loans
or school applications, depending on the circumstances. The nature of
the underlying crime can also play a large role in limiting your opportunities.
Theft and fraud convictions, for example, may make it difficult to find
an employer in retail or finance willing to hire you. There are also laws
and regulations in place that make convicted individuals ineligible for
certain types of jobs, depending on their conviction. For instance, having
a felony or any crime involving fraud or misrepresentation can make you
permanently ineligible to be a mortgage counselor.
Reputation – A criminal conviction can very well tarnish your personal and
professional reputation. Criminal convictions and court records are publicly
available, and even arrests are often published online or in local communities.
Depending on the nature of an offense, a conviction can very well lead
those in your local and professional circles to infer things about you
and your criminal record that may have a negative impact on your life.
Professional Licenses – A criminal conviction can be especially concerning for individuals
who hold professional licensing. Medical professionals, for example, can
face administrative disciplinary hearings and repercussions for criminal
convictions, especially if they constitute a crime of “moral turpitude.”
These repercussions may include loss of a professional license, or suspensions
and restrictions. Commercial drivers can also face suspension of their
CDL’s. These threats to your professional licensing are often separate
from a criminal proceeding, but they have an overwhelming ability to affect
your livelihood and how you earn an income.
Loss of Civil Rights – Certain crimes, particularly felony level offenses, introduce an
additional consequence of losing certain civil rights. When you are convicted
of a felony in Florida, you will no longer have the right to vote or the
right to own a firearm, and you can face additional severe penalties if
you do. If you are convicted of
domestic violence, you will also be prohibited from owning a firearm. Felony convictions
also prevent you from serving on a jury, and may impact your ability to
collect public benefits in some cases.
Immigration – Non U.S. citizens, including individuals who hold permanent resident
status, can potentially face immigration consequences when convicted of
certain crimes. Depending on the situation and the nature of an offense,
a criminal conviction may be grounds for deportation.
When being charged with a crime, the threat of fines and imprisonment are
certainly enough cause for concern, but they are not the only consequence
you face. By knowing what’s on the line, and understanding that
a conviction can have a profound and far-reaching impact on your livelihood,
you can better understand the importance of working with proven defense
lawyers who are capable of helping you pursue the best possible outcome,
whether that means a dismissal of charges, reduction of charges, or mitigation
of penalties. This is exactly what we fight for at Owenby Law, P.A.
By bringing your case to the attention of a Jacksonville criminal defense
lawyer from Owenby Law, P.A. as soon as possible after your arrest, you
can learn more about what you face and your options for defense. Our team
has handled thousands of cases for clients across Jacksonville and the
surrounding areas of Florida, and we are prepared to leverage our decades
of combined experience to help you fight the charges against you.
To get started,
contact us for a FREE consultation.