When you're young, life is a limitless series of possibilities spooling out in front of you. As you grow up and encounter specific life experiences, some of those paths may close permanently to you depending of the decisions you make.
Such is the case for young adults whose youthful indiscretions include brushes with the law for drug offenses or drinking and driving convictions. It can be hard to imagine one bad night in your 20s dogging you well into your 40s and beyond, yet this happens all the time.
Sadly, many of the opportunities that could be forever denied to you because of a decades-old conviction may be things you didn't even know existed or that interested you. It's only upon the realization that the pot bust in college cost you the dream job, or the opportunity to volunteer as a mentor, that you realize the true cost of your poor judgment.
What if it's only a misdemeanor?
Certainly, a misdemeanor conviction is better than a felony, but even a single arrest could affect your future when it comes to certain sensitive jobs in law enforcement, security and other fields. Misdemeanor convictions can also be more difficult to get pardoned for, as at least in the past, the Justice Department preferred to focus its resources on working to pardon felons.
Permanent consequences that follow you
The Justice Center operates a state-by-state database listing what they refer to as "collateral consequences" of convictions. Below is a random sampling of the 48,229 collateral consequences listed for the state of Ohio:
- Ineligible to operate bingo games for those with a felony conviction.
- Revocation of canine evaluation certification for law enforcement for various crimes.
- Disability benefits terminated for any felony conviction.
- Denied employment as a public servant for offenses involving controlled substances.
- Denial of certification as elevator inspector for any felony.
- Denial of license to sell real estate for a single felony conviction.
- Ineligible for any permit or license to sell, manufacture or exhibit fireworks.
While certainly the loss of some of the above opportunities will never seriously affect most people's lives, again, that is just a representative sample. There are tens of thousands of other opportunities that could wind up being very relevant to you as you progress through your life.
Fight convictions tooth and nail
The best way to avoid ever having to deal with such a situation is to vociferously fight any charges that have been lodged against you with an experienced Ohio criminal defense attorney leading the charge.