If you are arrested and charged with a crime, regardless of whether you are guilty or not, the charge will remain on your record forever. That mark on your record is a red flag for anyone who may be looking to employ you. The following are ways you can protect your professional reputation if you are charged.
1. Don’t Talk
If the police begin questioning you, do not say anything. Remember, according to the Miranda rights, anything you say may be used to your disadvantage. Do not tell anyone your side of the story. Your confessions to siblings or relatives are not protected and the court may subpoena them to testify. Any statements you make to other people may be used to discredit you in court.
2. Consult an Attorney
Any statements you make to your lawyer are protected by the attorney-client privilege. Therefore, if you are guilty, your confessions will not be leaked to the public. The more information your attorney has, the better equipped they are. Your attorney will prevent you from incrimination. You have the right not to answer any questions without the presence of your lawyer. They will also deal with your accuser’s threats. Your lawyer will negotiate on your behalf to have the charges reduced or dropped. It’s important to talk to a lawyer no matter what you are charged with, say the experts at Clark & Clark LLC.
3. Sue for Defamation
A false accusation could land you in jail and ruin your reputation. In such cases you can sue your accuser for defamation. Defamation can either be slander or libel. False accusations of petty crimes are considered slander while those for serious crimes are considered libel.
4. Out of Court Settlements
If you are guilty of a crime and want to protect your reputation, your lawyer can negotiate with the accuser. Settling out of court will keep the case from being publicized and your reputation will remain intact.
If you want your criminal record to be erased and prevent your reputation from being ruined, it is possible through expungement. Expungement depends on the offense and can be applied in the following cases: misdemeanors, where no formal charges have been filed, acquittal after trial and where charges have been dismissed. The time limit for seeking an expungement varies depending on the offense. For instance, misdemeanors have an expungement time limit of 2 years.
6. Non Disclosure Petition
If you are not eligible for expungement, you can protect your reputation through a non disclosure petition. Your attorney can assist you file a petition for non disclosure whereby the courts and law enforcement agencies are barred from disclosing any information about your case to third parties such as loan agencies, employers, landlords or education establishments.
A reputation can take a lifetime to build and can be ruined in a single moment. One of the things that can ruin your professional reputation is being charged of a crime. However, whether you are wrongfully or rightfully charged of a crime, the above measures can help you protect your reputation from getting ruined.