How a single criminal charge may haunt you for life

Feb 07

Merly Haggard, in his song “Branded Man,” told a story of how a convicted man was trying to “hold his head up” after serving his sentence in prison. But as the man tried to live a normal life after jail, he still can’t, as if stigma follows him everywhere he goes. True enough, being branded with a criminal charge can leave a permanent mark on your name, and this mark can stain you for life.

Charges such as drug possession and use can haunt you for life. People convicted of drug charges may find it difficult to get back on track and turn their lives around. Ironically, this stigma is still prevalent even if President Obama has heightened his efforts in restoring the rights and opportunities for those who have previously been charged guilty and are now trying their best to return to the society and live normal lives.

Criminal charges and family rights

If you have previously been convicted of a criminal charge while in the middle of a child custody case, chances are the court would provide you less custody and visitation rights. Furthermore, if the charge is related to drugs and domestic violence, visitation might be more limited, stringent, and sometimes even monitored. This is because the court assesses your capability of taking care of your child with different factors, and that heavily include criminal charges.

Criminal charges and access to other rights

Individuals who have been charged with misdemeanor may find it more difficult to apply for housing and car loans. Restricted access to rights such as these could make it more difficult for them to rebuild their lives and start over again. And because life choices are limited due to a crime conviction, individuals who have been previously charged are at higher risk of committing crimes again.

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