All interactions with law enforcement and the criminal justice system have the potential to produce serious, long-term consequences. Being arrested in Virginia, even without a subsequent conviction, can damage your reputation and significantly disrupt your family and work life. Should you endure a conviction or incarceration, the negative impacts on your life can be even greater.
Loss of employment and lifelong income
The vast majority of employers run background checks before extending a job offer. Many of them do not hire people with a criminal record, even a misdemeanor. A conviction that sends you to prison could slash your lifelong earning potential by 52% every year. This huge financial consequence places you under extreme pressure to defend yourself from criminal charges.
Many colleges and universities bar people from criminal records from attending their schools. As a result, a conviction could keep you from improving your employment outlook through higher education.
In the near term, you could lose the job you have right now if an arrest, brief incarceration or suspension of driver’s license makes you miss work. Depending on the type of work you do, your employer could let you go upon hearing about the criminal charges.
Limited housing options
If your landlord learns about your arrest, you may end up being evicted, especially if incarceration prevents you from paying the rent. With an eviction on your record, along with a criminal record, you will face a hard time finding anyone who will rent to you. Even public housing agencies typically have policies that prohibit renting to people with criminal records.
Special concerns for parents
Child welfare agencies could investigate you and possibly remove your children from your home after an arrest or conviction. An investigation might happen due to a law enforcement referral or a report from a neighbor.