man in county jailThis is the next article in my series on how to defend against a first offense in Little Rock, Arkansas. My last post discussed the importance of retaining counsel when you have been charged with a first-time offense. It is important to understand that whether you have been charged with a felony or a misdemeanor, first-time offenses should be taken seriously. Defendants facing any kind of charges should consult with a criminal law attorney and not take matters into their own hands. Counsel will work to build a strong defense and ensure you know what to expect along the way. In this article I will discuss the consequences of being convicted of your first offense. If you or a family member are in need of assistance then contact my office today to speak with a lawyer.

Arkansas criminal convictions can pose challenges in finding employment and/or housing

In Arkansas, convictions for felonies and misdemeanors typically stay on your record for life. There is a possibility for your record to be expunged but it depends on the circumstances of your situation and the severity of the crime. When a conviction is on one’s record, this means it will be found on background checks. Oftentimes, employers and leasing managers will run background checks. Some employers refuse to hire individuals with a criminal record for a multitude of reasons. For example, some employers believe it may reflect poorly on their reputation to hire someone who has been convicted of a crime. Similarly, leasing managers may not rent homes to such individuals either for concerns regarding danger and liability.

Some people that have been convicted of a crime believe that once they have served their time, they can move on and go back to their normal lives. However, this is not always the case when one’s permanent record has a conviction listed on it. Entities like employers and leasing managers often do not consider any explanation of a conviction. As a result, it can be incredibly difficult to find employment or housing once you have been convicted of a felony or a misdemeanor. Moreover, it will be much more difficult if the crime you have been convicted of is severe. For instance, some employers or leading managers will be open to working with someone convicted of a non-violent misdemeanor. However, they may be less willing to associate with someone whose conviction was for a violent crime. Some companies may outright reject an applicant once they find out there has been a prior conviction.

Once you have been convicted of a crime, any future felony or misdemeanor that you commit may carry a greater punishment

First-time offenses may result in more severe consequences for any future crimes that may be committed. This will of course depend on the circumstances of your case and the crime involved, and will ultimately be left up to the sentencing judge to decide. However, it should be highlighted that many crimes carry increased statutory penalties for second offenses. Further, sentencing is typically left up to the discretion of the judge. If a judge sees that a defendant has been convicted of another crime previously, they may be more inclined to sentence a greater penalty. This is another reason why all first-offense charges should be taken seriously, regardless of whether the charge was a felony or a misdemeanor.

If you have been charged with your first offense, it is important to retain an experienced criminal defense attorney. Consulting with counsel will allow you to better understand the process and your options moving forward. I have been protecting the rights of the accused for over twenty years and I take great pride in the level of service which my office provides. Contact my office online or by telephone to speak with a Little Rock lawyer. I also handle matters in Fayetteville, Fort Smith, Springdale, Jonesboro, North Little Rock, Conway, Rogers, Pine Bluff, and throughout the remainder of Arkansas.