Expungement Lawyer Dallas

Collateral Consequences – Why You Need Expungement

Everyone knows the consequences of breaking the law. You commit a crime, you get arrested, go to trial, and if you are convicted, you pay a fine, get a jail sentence, go on probation, do some community service, and then it’s all over and done with, right? Not really. While it is true that being convicted of a crime can and usually does lead to jail time, financial penalties, and the like, that is not the whole picture. The reality is that, if you are convicted of a criminal offense, you will most likely suffer “collateral consequences” in addition to any penalties the law may impose on you.

The term collateral consequences refers to various negative effects that criminal charges and convictions have on people outside of the sentences handed down by a court of law. Most of these collateral consequences are due to the way society responds to a criminal record. For example, a person convicted of theft may have a hard time landing a job simply because no company wants to risk hiring a kleptomaniac. Even though this person may have technically “paid off’ his debt to society by serving jail time or doing community service, the indirect effects of his conviction still remains. Other potential collateral consequences include the loss of voting rights, the inability to run for or hold public office, the inability to buy or own firearms, as well as the sheer social stigma of having a criminal record. Needless to say, collateral consequences can have a significant negative effect on a person’s life.

Of course, you might argue, as many people do, that a person who commits a crime deserves to be subjected to collateral consequences, even if the law does not specifically allow them. While this may be true, you may also want to consider this: because collateral consequences are not regulated by law and are usually due to the actions of private citizens (shunning a convicted felon during social gatherings, or rejecting his job application, for example), they may not only affect people who are found guilty of a crime. That is to say, many people suffer negative social effects from simply being accused of a crime in court, even if the charges were eventually dismissed or if they were acquitted by a jury.

So what can you do about this? Obviously any association with criminal charges, conviction or not, can have negative consequences for your future life. Is there any way to get around the collateral consequences? This is where the expungement process comes in. By getting your record expunged, you can legally deny that you were ever charged with or put on trial for a criminal offense, and no one will be able to see the charges in your file. In other words, it is almost as if the whole ordeal never happened.

If you were charged with a crime in the state of Texas but were acquitted, or if the charges were dismissed, you may be eligible to have your record expunged, thus giving you a clean slate to work with in the future. For more information about expungement, contact Dallas expungement lawyer Mark Lassiter today.