theLEGALspotlight:

Consequences of a Harris County Criminal Court Conviction

If you have been charged with an offense in Harris County Criminal Court, you are probably well aware of at least some of the criminal penalties you could face, whether that includes Harris County Jail, extremely high fines and fees, community service, drug and alcohol counseling or probation. What you may not be as familiar with are the wide array of collateral consequences attached to a conviction in Harris County Criminal Court. While your Houston Criminal Defense Lawyer will work hard to help you avoid Harris County Jail and Harris County Criminal Records, there are many other consequences of a criminal conviction.

Additional Civil Penalties of a Houston Criminal Conviction - The civil penalties you could face following a conviction in Harris County Criminal Court are apart from the typical criminal consequences such as incarceration, fines or probation, yet can be truly life-altering. The civil actions which are triggered by a criminal conviction can include the loss or restriction of a hard-earned professional license, the inability to continue to receive student loans or any Medicaid or welfare benefits, the potential loss of voting rights, and even deportation for those with immigrant status—even those who currently hold permanent resident status. In some cases, a person who has been residing in publicly-funded housing may find themselves evicted following a criminal conviction.

Unfortunately, across the nation, United States judges are under no obligation to warn about these collateral consequences should the person be found guilty by trial or should they have decided to make an admission of guilt through a pre-arranged plea agreement. In other words, those who suffer a criminal conviction are facing two very distinct sets of consequences in the form of direct consequences and collateral consequences. The question of whether these consequences are warranted is one the courts have little interest in answering.

Social Consequences - Following the direct and collateral consequences of a criminal conviction most people will also find themselves suffering certain social consequences such as the loss of their employment or social stigma by friends, family or community members. Arrests and legal proceedings are normally considered public record in the United States, meaning the information which is available after such an incident can be extremely detrimental to the person it concerns. Even if, later on, the charges are found to be false, the social damage may already be done, with no way of undoing it. There are few, if any, legal remedies available for the myriad of collateral consequences which resulted from your criminal arrest, even if you are found to be innocent down the line.  

Important Considerations - You will discuss your options with your Sullo & Sullo Houston Criminal Defense Attorney, and it is important that you factor in all the potential collateral consequences before making your decision on how to proceed. Your current and future career options must be weighed carefully, especially if you have worked hard for your present position through years of experience or considerable levels of higher education. Certain convictions can completely prohibit you from specific career options. As an example, school districts will not hire those convicted of a sex offense, no matter the circumstances surrounding the conviction. Agencies which regulate those who handle chemicals may automatically preclude someone who has a drug conviction. Your Sullo & Sullo Houston Criminal Defense Lawyer may be able to negotiate a plea which involves a lesser or different charge which will not end your employment opportunities in your field of expertise. A deferred adjudication may also keep your employer from considering your criminal charges in a negative light.

The Process of Harris County Criminal Court - Whether you are being charged with a relatively minor misdemeanor or a serious felony, it is essential that you protect your rights and your freedom by understanding the Texas criminal court process as well as by having an experienced Houston Criminal Defense Lawyer by your side. You need an attorney who is both a skilled negotiator as well as a knowledgeable, aggressive litigator. The Houston Criminal Defense Attorneys at Sullo & Sullo are both highly skilled negotiators and aggressive litigators. If your chances of winning the case are low, you might want to consider a plea bargain. A plea bargain can reduce the charges against you or reduce the potential penalties in return for your guilty plea. According to the Texas Department of Justice, as many as 90 percent of all criminal cases are ended through a plea bargain.

If, on the other hand, you are truly innocent of the charged criminal offense, or you believe there were extenuating circumstances which can mitigate the serious nature of your charges, you might choose to go to trial. Unfortunately, there are never guaranteed outcomes to a trial. If you are facing felony charges, you will have 12 jurors, however if you are facing misdemeanor charges, you will have six jurors for your trial. Negotiation proceedings are often complex, making it imperative to have skilled legal assistance throughout the process. Even before you reach the negotiation or trial stage, you have rights during the investigation and arrest process as well. Perhaps your constitutional rights were violated during your arrest, or perhaps you were not read your Miranda rights following your arrest.

Protecting Your Rights and Your Freedom - In order to increase your chances of having your charges reduced or dismissed, you need the assistance of a highly experienced Houston Criminal Defense Lawyer who can help you establish a strategy for your case, providing information and advice for the steps you should take. The Sullo & Sullo Houston Criminal Defense Attorneys have helped many people fight Harris County criminal charges and we believe in getting to know you as well as your specific situation in order to present your case in the most positive light possible. Having a knowledgeable Houston Criminal Defense Attorney to represent you in Harris County Criminal Court can make all the difference in the outcome of your criminal charges. Having the very Best Criminal Defense Attorney in Harris County helps level the playing field between you and the Harris County District Attorney who represents the state of Texas. Do not wait—contact a Sullo & Sullo Houston Criminal Defense Lawyer today.

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