Pleading guilty to an assault charge can have long-term consequences
Finding out you’ve been charged with assault can sometimes come as a surprise. Maybe you got into a drunken fight at a bar. Maybe you were protecting someone else from an aggressor. Maybe you weren’t even involved in a physical altercation, but your neighbors overheard you arguing with your spouse and called the police.
You may think the fastest and easiest way to make your legal problem go away is to plead guilty. However, doing so without first consulting with a criminal defense attorney can be a costly mistake. Pleading guilty means that you will have an assault conviction on your permanent criminal record. Here are some of the ways this can negatively impact you down the road:
Having any mark on your criminal record has the potential to affect how prospective employers may feel about hiring you. With an assault on your record, it can further limit your career prospects. An assault conviction can prevent you from getting any job that requires you to carry a gun (such as a law enforcement officer) or any job that involves working with children, the elderly or other vulnerable populations.
A criminal record may also make it more difficult for you to pursue higher education. Many academic institutions are wary about accepting applicants with a criminal background. This can also make you ineligible for some forms of financial aid.
Landlords and lending institutions also tend to be more cautious when dealing with individuals with a criminal record. By pleading guilty, you may be more likely to face challenges when trying to rent an apartment or get a loan to buy a house.
If you go through a divorce and have children with your ex, an assault conviction can negatively impact your likelihood of maintaining custody of your kids. This is especially true if you pled guilty to domestic assault.
If you are facing an assault charge, it’s important to discuss your situation with an experienced criminal defense attorney before taking any action. They may be able to work to get your charges reduced or dropped altogether – which could be enormously beneficial to your future.