Advice for Rebuilding Your Life After a Criminal Case
Facing a criminal case, regardless of the outcome, is a life-changing event. Whether you were found innocent or guilty, there is no way to get around the fact that being charged with a crime has lingering consequences. The best thing to do if you have been arrested is to call a criminal defense attorney immediately, who can fight for your rights and help you get the best possible outcome for your case. However, once the case itself is over and you deal with any sentences that may have resulted from the charges, you’re left trying to navigate life in the aftermath. The good news is that your future can be better. As you consider what to do next, keep this advice in mind.
Make Peace with Your Circumstances
How you view the outcome of your situation is likely to be significantly impacted by whether you were guilty or innocent. If you were found guilty of your charges, you may be struggling with guilt about your crime and the toll it took on your loved ones. If you were innocent of the charges, you may feel relieved to have the case over but angry about having to face an arrest and trial for a crime you didn’t commit. The best way to move forward in either case is to accept your situation. You can’t change the past, so focus on what you can to do have a better future.
Recognize the Changes to Your Life
If you were convicted of a crime, there will undeniably be some changes to your life. A criminal record may impact your ability to work, own a firearm, and vote. A conviction can also impact any child custody agreements and prevent you from living in certain rental communities. Additionally, if you were convicted of a sex crime, you may end up on the sex offender registry and subsequently follow the associated rules. These things happen to everyone who has a criminal conviction, so you’re not alone in dealing with these new realities. Being aware of the way your conviction impacts these areas of your life will help you plan appropriately and avoid unanticipated bumps in the road.
Talk to Your Defense Attorney
After your case is concluded, your criminal defense attorney could still be an important resource for you. If your case was dismissed, your defense attorney can tell you if there were any examples of your rights being violated along the way, so you can make a complaint. If you were convicted, your criminal defense attorney can explain your options for expunging your record. Although expungement is not possible in every case, if you are eligible, it could clear your record and the associated consequences of a conviction. When available, an expungement can be an excellent way to get a fresh start.
Consider Your Personal Relationships
It can be helpful to talk to your loved ones about the ways your criminal case impacted them and what they want your relationship to be like in the future. In some cases, you may find that you have to spend time rebuilding trust and closeness. Even more importantly, take the time to evaluate relationships that might not be worth rebuilding. This is especially important if there were people in your life whose influence contributed to your criminal case. If you have family members or friends who are involved in crime and who will pressure you to restart bad habits, it is a good idea to give them a wide berth. Keep in mind that associating with convicted criminals is often prohibited when you’re on parole, so think carefully about which relationships are important to keep and which relationships you should avoid so you don’t compromise your freedom.
Ask for Help
Regardless of the outcome, it’s normal to have a lot of stress, anger, and confusion after a criminal case, but you don’t have to suffer alone. Whether you’re looking for support in changing your lifestyle to avoid future charges or need help processing your experience, there are support groups, counselors, and doctors who can help. If you think you need some support, your defense attorney may be able to recommend resources.
Janet Altschuler understands the far-reaching impacts of a criminal case, which is why she fights so hard for the rights of all of her clients. When you need a criminal defense lawyer in Tucson, call Altschuler at (520) 829-4460 to set up a case evaluation.