By Collin County Criminal Defense Lawyer Jeremy Rosenthal
I ask this question frequently when I’m picking jurors and believe it or not, very few people know this.
I guess it’s understandable because not everyone is a criminal defense attorney or have a loved one weighted down with a conviction.
A conviction in Texas stays on your criminal record forever. It’s hard to quantify the amount of opportunity costs which are lost due to convictions, but everyone has been asked before when renting an apartment, applying for a job, or seeking a loan, to check the ominous box asking if they’ve ever been convicted of anything other than a minor traffic ticket.
Criminal convictions can even hurt you in things such as adoptions, immigration status, and voting rights if the conviction is a felony. The collateral consequences are countless. Here is a good article about the costs of picking up a simple marijuana or other drug case.
In this stunning study from Northwestern University conducted in 2001, it was shown that persons with felony drug records where between 50% and 75% less likely to get a follow-up job interview than other applicants with equal qualifications for jobs as sales, management, and wait staff. This study proves what we already know — that a criminal record is cancer on your ability to make a living. What it shows us, too, is just how badly a record hurts relative to those without records.
There is no such thing as a small criminal charge.
*Jeremy Rosenthal is Board Certified in Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and licensed by the Supreme Court of Texas. Nothing in this article should be considered as legal advice. For legal advice, you should consult an attorney directly.