Whether you get arrested during an unexpected traffic stop or at the front door of your home, you will naturally worry about what your arrest may mean for your future. Will you end up in state custody? Will you have to pay large fines?

The exact consequences that you face when accused of a criminal infraction will depend on the offense itself and your criminal record. In general, those convicted of a criminal offense often notice a chilling effect on their careers. A conviction on your record, likely because you pleaded guilty could keep you from getting a promotion or earning the wages that you would like.

In what ways will a criminal conviction affect your professional goals?

1. It reduces educational opportunities

Certain criminal convictions will make you temporarily ineligible for federal student aid. Others won’t prevent you from getting grants or subsidized student loans but could prevent you from qualifying for private scholarships.

Beyond that, you may have a harder time gaining enrollment at competitive educational institutions with a criminal conviction on your record. If continuing education or an advanced degree or necessary for your profession, pleading guilty to a charge might put an end to your dreams.

2. It puts your job at risk

Depending on the kind of charge you face and your employer’s policy, pleading guilty to criminal accusations might cost you your job. Even if your employer does not fire you, they may not promote you anymore after you add a major blemish to your background check. Additionally, you can expect that your criminal conviction will pop up every time you apply for a job somewhere else.

3. It can affect you professional licensing or eligibility

If you need a state license to do a certain job, you might lose that license after a criminal conviction. If you do not yet have that license, you may no longer be eligible to secure one. An example would be a drunk driving offense, which could make you ineligible for a commercial driver’s license.

Beyond that, other kinds of criminal infractions could make you unable to perform basic job duties. A domestic violence charge might prevent you from legally possessing a firearm, thereby preventing a career in law enforcement.

There is a lot that you stand to lose if you plead guilty to a criminal charge, which is why assertively defending yourself is often the better option when accused of a criminal offense. Looking into possible criminal defense strategies can help you move on with your life after your recent arrest.