Many people who are charged with a crime feel fortunate if they are able to plead guilty to a crime, provided there is no jail time.

There are, however, collateral consequences when you plead guilty to a crime. For the rest of your life, the answer to the question, “Have you been convicted of a crime?” Your answer must be “Yes.” Other consequences can include loss of job, loss of driver’s license, loss of commercial driver’s license, loss of professional license or liquor license, and for foreign nationals, deportation. Students who are convicted of drug crimes lose eligibility for student loans, while people convicted of sex crimes face the most onerous consequence of all; lifetime registration as a sex offender under the Sex Offender Registration Act (SORA).

Pleading guilty to any misdemeanor or felony offense will result in a permanent criminal record. This record can be seen by anyone who conducts a background check, such as employers, landlords, banks, insurance companies, licensing boards, and others. Since a criminal record lasts forever, you should never plead guilty to any crime without advice from an experienced criminal defense attorney.

Consider also that those charged with such crimes as patronizing a prostitute, possession of drugs, driving under the influence, and other such offenses, where an automobile may have been used during the commission of the crime, face the forfeiture of their vehicle in an asset forfeiture proceeding.

At the law office of Michael Paul in Jackson Heights, New York, your future is important to me. My goal is to resolve your criminal charges in a way that will not result in a criminal record or the forfeiture of your vehicle. For first-time offenders who are charged with misdemeanor offenses, such as shoplifting, I am often able to do this if you retain me early enough. If I am not able to negotiate a successful outcome, I will use every legal tool at my disposal to help you obtain the best possible outcome for your case.

Certificate of Relief from Civil Disability

If you have been convicted of certain crimes in New York, I can help you obtain an Article 23 Certificate of Relief from Civil Disability. Obtaining this certificate will enable you to apply for certain city jobs and licenses that you otherwise wouldn’t be eligible for with a criminal record.

The Certificate of Relief from Civil Disability is an order from the court to the government instructing them not to hold the conviction against you. While private employers are not bound by the order, it does work in your favor.

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