People in Virginia get arrested for all sorts of criminal behavior. Maybe you tried to drive home after stopping at happy hour, only to get pulled over and arrested. Perhaps the police allege that your possession of a prescription drug is a violation of the law.
Regardless of the charges that you find yourself facing, you need to have a realistic understanding of what penalties you may face. Different charges cause different criminal consequences, but almost any criminal charge can have career consequences.
Will pleading guilty come back to haunt you when you are eligible for a promotion or apply for a new job?
Virginia does not limit most criminal records
You might think that a criminal offense that occurs in your private time and does not relate to the kind of work you do has zero impact on your career. However, criminal background checks have become a major part of modern employment practices. Even companies that don’t offer competitive wages will likely expect you to disclose your criminal record and then double-check to verify whether you told the truth.
If you currently have a good job, the terms of your employment contract may give your employer the authority to fire you summarily once you have a criminal conviction. Even if they cannot terminate you, you may find that you no longer have the same opportunities. Your criminal record could come up when you apply for a promotion and prevent you from advancing your career.
The only records that have protection under Virginia law are records that someone already went to court to expunge. If you choose to fight the criminal charges you face instead of pleading guilty, you stand a better chance of preventing them from damaging your career.
Learning more about the secondary consequences of a criminal conviction can help you decide what to do after the police arrest you.