What happens if I get convicted of a crime?

A criminal conviction can have a very deep impact on someone’s life. Depending on the severity of the crime, the punishment can vary from fines, to probation, to time in jail. Also, there may be collateral consequences that come with a criminal conviction. The first one is the loss of reputation. The second might be loss of employment. Many employers will fire you if you have been convicted of a crime. Also, your driving privileges may be suspended or terminated.

The most important collateral consequence of a criminal conviction could be deportation from the United States for those that are not U.S. Citizens. In fact, a conviction for a crime of moral turpitude or an aggravated felony will trigger removal proceedings against illegal immigrants as well as lawful permanent residents. Before pleading guilty to a criminal offense, any immigrant should consult with the best criminal immigration lawyers.

Unless you accept a guilty plea from the prosecutor, you will have to face the trial. At the trial, the prosecution will have to convince 12 jurors beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed the crime, and you are guilty before there was no excuse for your behavior. During the trial, your criminal defense attorney will have to object to the admissibility of any prejudicial evidence, or evidence that was obtained unlawfully. For instance, evidence that was obtained without a search warrant could be suppressed from trial.

Further, as a defendant you have a constitutional right under the Sixth amendment to have a competent lawyer represent you. Ineffective assistance of counsel is a common ground for reversal of criminal convictions. If your case was mishandled, or you feel that the jury reached a verdict that is clearly against the evidence presented at trial, you may file an appeal. A good appeals lawyer will explain you whether you have any chance of getting your conviction vacated by a higher court.

The appeal process starts when you or your lawyer file a notice of appeal with the trial court. After, both the defense attorney and the prosecutor will have to file legal briefs in support of their positions. At the end, the appellate court will schedule oral argument, and will make a decision over the appeal.