Consequences of a criminal conviction

Consequences of a criminal conviction

Consequences of a Criminal Conviction

A criminal record can affect you in ways you may not expect.
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Do I need a lawyer when charged with a crime?

YES! A criminal conviction can have long-lasting consequences for you and for your family, so do not face criminal charges alone.

Possible results of a criminal conviction

Depending on the charge, a conviction could result in one or more of the following:

  • Time in jail – away from your spouse, partner, family, pets, job or school
  • Possible probation – with associated costs, counseling, monitoring and other restrictions
  • Court fines – the amount depends on the offense
  • Restitution you must pay to victims or their families
  • Loss of job and income – eviction, loan default, vehicle repossession, lower credit score
  • Online search or background check lets anyone learn of your guilty conviction!

There can be consequences even after you finish your sentence

After jail, prison, or probation, you may face difficulties in going about your daily life:

  • Difficulty getting a job, renting an apartment, getting a loan, and higher interest rates
  • Unable or difficult to get work in education, government or their contractors, healthcare, childcare, security, corrections, military, insurance, gambling, casinos, banking or finance
  • Harder to get licensed or work as a commercial driver
  • Restrictions on holding public office or work or volunteering for political activities
  • Constitutional rights such as the right to vote or own firearms may be limited or lost
  • You may be unable to serve jury duty
  • Your Green Card may not be renewed and you may be subject to immigration review and possible deportation
  • Limited access to financial aid including welfare and other government benefits
  • Unable to enroll in further education, including loss of scholarships or grants
  • Negative impact on adoption and child custody cases
  • Increased chance of future criminal charges
  • Increased penalties if convicted of charges in the future

Your conviction can also affect your family, children, and you in personal ways

  • Damage to your reputation – people may avoid you in business or social situations once they know of your criminal record, including friends, family, customers, neighbors, church and other community groups or organizations.
  • Harder to get dates or meet new people when they find your conviction online

For these reasons you must do everything possible to avoid the damaging effects of a guilty verdict.

Your Davidson County Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help

The potential effects on your life if convicted of a crime can be serious.  When you or a loved one are charged with a crime, you need a tough but caring criminal defense attorney on your side.  Carla Grebert will take the time to listen, understand and explain the legal process, then provide a strong defense to make sure that the district attorney does not take advantage of you or your situation. Request a consultation today,

Tenn Assoc of Criminal Defense Lawyers
Member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
American Bar Association

Should I Take a Plea?

Should I Take a Plea?

Should I take a Plea?

A plea can be a good choice, but it is not the right path in every situation.
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Do I need a lawyer if the DA offers me a plea deal?

Yes!  Your criminal defense attorney will help you understand the potential outcomes of your case and can evaluate the offer

The DA is not on your side, and you should not assume that the offer is a good one.

 

If a plea will get my case finished quickly and avoid jail, should I do it?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this.  Whether or not you should take a plea depends on a number of factors such as the facts of your case, what the state can prove, what penalties you may receive, what you will have to do as a result of the plea (such as probation, jail time, classes, etc.), and what your personal priorities are.  Your criminal defense attorney will discuss all of these matters with you to help you make a well-informed choice.

 

If I plead guilty and am on probation, do I have a criminal record?

Yes, a guilty plea is a conviction, so you will have a criminal record.  Even for a minor offense, a criminal record can have far-reaching consequences.

See Consequences of a Criminal Conviction

If it is your first offense, you may be able to avoid a criminal record if you successfully complete probation through a program called judicial diversion.

See About Pleas: What is judicial diversion?

Some non-violent and non-DUI criminal convictions may be expunged.  However, even if your particular offense is expungable, you will have to wait several years to become eligible for expungement of a conviction.  So, in the meantime you will have a criminal record which can limit your life in many significant ways. 

Your Davidson County criminal defense lawyer can help.

Do not go into a plea agreement alone.  Defense attorney Carla Grebert can help you decide whether a plea is the right path for you.  If it is, she will work to get you the best deal possible.  If you or a loved one has been charged with a crime, request a consultation today.

Understanding Probation

Probation is part of many plea offers .  It is better than jail, but it has rules and requirements.  Davidson County criminal defense attorney Carla Grebert has prepared a handy printable one-page guide to help you understand probation before you take a plea.  Click here to get it.

Tenn Assoc of Criminal Defense Lawyers
Member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
American Bar Association

About Pleas:  What is judicial diversion?

About Pleas: What is judicial diversion?

About Pleas: What is judicial diversion?

What does judicial diversion mean in Tennessee?

The bottom line: Judicial diversion is a program in Tennessee that allows eligible defendants to avoid a criminal conviction and have their charges dismissed and expunged upon successful completion of probation.

Judicial diversion, sometimes called “40-35 diversion,” is a second chance for first-time offenders to avoid a criminal conviction, if the district attorney agrees to make it part of a plea agreement.

choice of two pats

To be eligible for judicial diversion in Tennessee, you must meet certain criteria: you must not have been previously sentenced to jail/prison time for a felony or for an A misdemeanor; you must not have participated in judicial diversion or pre-trial diversion in the past; you must be charged with a qualifying offense (judicial diversion is not available for most violent crimes or for DUI); and you must apply for and receive a certificate of eligibility from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigations (the application costs $100.00).

How can I get judicial diversion?

To take advantage of judicial diversion, you must plead guilty to a crime, but the judge does not enter judgment at that time. Instead, the judge waits to enter judgment until you have had an opportunity to complete probation.

During this probationary period, you will be required to check in regularly with your probation officer, pass random drug tests, engage in lawful behavior (meaning, no new arrests), and comply with all conditions of your probation. Common conditions include community service, classes, and drug and alcohol treatment programs.

What are the advantages to judicial diversion?

If you successfully complete probation, the charges against you will be dismissed and the charge(s) can then be expunged from your record.

If you do not complete your probation requirements, your guilty plea may become final and you may be required to serve your original sentence in jail.

Do I need a lawyer for judicial diversion?

Your criminal defense lawyer will negotiate with the DA for a plea subject to judicial diversion, will apply for diversion eligibility through the Tenneessee Bureau of Investigations, and will counsel you as to whether this is the best option for you.  If you have been charged with a crime, contact Carla Grebert for a consultation.

Quick Guide to Understanding Judical Diversion

Nashville criminal defense attorney Carla Grebert has prepared a handy, printable one-page guide to help you understand judicial diversion.  Click here to get it.

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Tenn Assoc of Criminal Defense Lawyers
Member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
American Bar Association
About Preliminary Hearings:  What is “probable cause”?

About Preliminary Hearings:  What is “probable cause”?

About Preliminary Hearings:  What is “probable cause”?

What is Probable Cause?

 The bottom line:  Probable cause means there is enough evidence to cause a reasonable belief that a crime was committed and that the defendant committed it.

Probable cause is a concept that is important in several aspects of criminal law.  This post deals with probable cause in the context of a preliminary hearing in Tennessee.

In order for a case to be bound over to the Grand Jury, the District Attorney must present enough evidence in the preliminary hearing to show probable cause.  This means that there must be enough evidence to create a reasonable belief that a crime has been committed and that the defendant committed the crime.   (This is a much lower amount of evidence than is required to convict a defendant at trial.  At trial, the state must prove a defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.)

Generally, the District Attorney must present some evidence in the preliminary hearing that connects the defendant to the crime and establishes the basic elements of the crime alleged.  The evidence presented may include witness testimony and physical evidence.  Often the only evidence presented is the testimony of the arresting officer.

What happens if the Judge finds Probable Cause?

The judge considers the evidence and makes a probable cause determination. If the judge finds probable cause, the case will be bound over to the Grand Jury.  If the judge does not find probable cause, the case will be dismissed. However, this is very rare due to the small amount of evidence required to show probable cause.

Quick Guide to Understanding General Sessions Court

Nashville criminal defense attorney Carla Grebert has prepared a handy printable one-page guide to help you understand the General Sessions Court.  Click here to get it.

What is a preliminary hearing?

What is a preliminary hearing?

What is a preliminary hearing?

What is a Preliminary Hearing in General Sessions Court in Tennessee?

The bottom line:   In a preliminary hearing in Tennessee’s General Sessions Court, the judge determines whether there is probable cause to continue to the next phase of criminal prosecution.

If you are charged with any crime in Tennessee, the first court you will appear in is the General Sessions Court.  Many cases are resolved in General Sessions Court.  In Tennessee you are entitled to a preliminary hearing if your case cannot be resolved in General Sessions.

A preliminary hearing is not a trial to determine a defendant’s guilt.  Instead, the focus is on whether there is enough evidence to bind over to the Grand Jury.

What Happens during a Preliminary Hearing?

During the hearing, the prosecution will offer evidence of the alleged crime.   Often, this evidence is the witness testimony of a police officer involved in the arrest or investigation.

Your lawyer will have the opportunity to ask the witness questions under oath.  You lawyer may also present witnesses to the court.

After hearing the testimony, the judge will determine whether there is probable cause to bind over the charge to the grand jury.

  • There is “probable cause” if there is evidence that makes it reasonable to believe that you committed a crime.
  • “Bind over” means that the case will be sent to the grand jury.
  • The grand jury is a group of 13 people who review the evidence and decide if there is probable cause (again!) to continue the prosecution in Circuit/Criminal Court.

If the judge finds that there is not probable cause, then the charge is dismissed.

Because very little proof is required to show probable cause, the reality is that most charges are bound over to the grand jury.

Do I need a Lawyer for  a Preliminary Hearing?

Yes.  Even though most charges are bound over, a preliminary hearing can be an important part of your criminal defense.  Your criminal defense attorney will discuss your case with you to determine whether you should have or waive the hearing.  If you have a hearing, your attorney will cross examine the witnesses to elicit relevant testimony.  If you have been accused of a crime, contact Davidson County criminal defense attorney Carla Grebert for a consultation.

Quick Guide to Understanding General Sessions Court

Nashville criminal defense attorney Carla Grebert has prepared a handy printable one-page guide to help you understand your criminal case in General Sessions Court.  Click here to get it.

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