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What Happens After A Criminal Is Convicted Of A Crime



A defendant is presumed convicted of a crime in two ways: entering a plea of guilty or being found guilty by either a judge or by a jury. The main advantage in entering a guilty plea is that you typically have already agreed to your sentence.

Also, what follows after a criminal is convicted of a crime depends on whether the offense is a misdemeanor or a felony.

Misdemeanor Conviction

Most plea agreements are based on what your sentence will be. If your conviction is by a judge or jury, you usually risk a stricter sentence. Here are some common scenarios:

  • Most first-time defendants are given probation.
  • Repeat offenders are more prone to a jail sentence, especially if the prior offense was recent or it involved some degree of violence or theft.
  • Your conviction will be on your public and criminal record, which you have to disclose in job applications.
  • After a few years, ask a lawyer about expunging your conviction.

Felony Conviction

Again, if you plead guilty to a felony, it is usually with the consent of both prosecutor and judge as to your sentence. In some cases, you might have to take your chances. You usually do if you go to trial and are found guilty. Here are some scenarios:

  • You could be given probation with conditions or placed in a diversionary program.
  • You could be immediately taken into custody from the courtroom.
  • Some felonies have mandatory minimum jail sentences, so you will go to jail.
  • You will not be able to own a firearm or vote in some states.
  • Your conviction is a public record. It will seriously affect your ability to find employment or housing, get a loan, retain or obtain a professional license, or get security clearance or a passport.
  • Non-citizens are subject to arrest by immigration authorities and deportation.
  • A sex crime conviction requires you to publicly register your address, will severely restrict your housing options and privacy, and will subject you to civil commitment in some cases.
  • An appeal is possible but costly and difficult.

Some felonies can be expunged. Check with your attorney.