Thursday, September 20, 2012

ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT Part 2: Collateral Consequences of an Arrest

Aside from the obvious consequence of being arrested, (i.e., going to jail) there are many other potential "hidden" consequences of an arrest. Here are a few of them:

TRANSPORTATION: some arrests and criminal convictions will result in your driver's license being suspended, and I am not just talking about DUI arrests. Even misdemeanor drug offenses (possession of marijuana or possession of drug paraphernalia) can carry lengthy license suspensions. Clearly, not having a driver's license could affect one's ability to get to work, keep their job and earn money to support themselves and their family. Not having a driver's license would create HUGE problems for a parent who drives their child to and from school or to various activities.   

JOBS. Especially in this down economy and tough economic times, employers have an abundance of applicants to fill an open position. As such, employers often will not "take a chance" on a potential employee who has a criminal record vs. a similar potential employee with a clean record. Additionally, many employees are learning that if and when they apply for a promotion within their company a new background check is run which may turn up a previously unknown arrest. This is especially true for an employee who has been with the same company for many years and no new background checks have been conducted in years.

LIVING: Many people who live in apartment complexes have realized that their prior arrests/criminal convictions (even for misdemeanors) resulted in them being DENIED the ability to rent an apartment or live where they want to live. Most apartment complexes are running detailed background checks on potential renters and DENYING applications because of prior arrests. Furthermore, if you live at an apartment complex and get arrested on site, apartment complexes have often terminated the lease and kicked renters out of their apartments for safety and liability reasons.

REPUTATION: In Hillsborough and local counties, the Sheriff's Office and Clerk of Court websites post arrest and case information, including photographs of each person arrested and some details of the arrest including the crime charged. There are also private companies who have created internet based businesses to make money off your arrest. is an example of this type of company as each day they post the "mugshot" photos of those arrested. When anyone searches your name or a name similar to yours on any of the search engines (Google, Yahoo, Bing) those search engines may and often will attach links to with links to your arrest photo and arrest information. Obviously, this could cause you, your family, and friends embarrassment and may damage your reputation.

There are also local newspapers and publications that print the photos and information of those arrested. Some of these publications are available free at local businesses. Once your photo and arrest information is on the public domain via the internet, it is almost impossible to completely erase that information.

TRAVEL: If placed on probation by the Court for a felony crime, oftentimes a person is then prohibited from leaving their county of residence. If you live in Hillsborough County, this means no trips to Clearwater Beach while on probation, no Rays Games, no trips to Orlando, etc. Further, without getting pre-approved written permission from the probation officer and/or the Judge, a person is not allowed to leave the State of Florida to attend a wedding, funeral, or other important family event.

The above are "hidden" but very important potential collateral consequences of being arrested. If you have any questions about this information, please contact me at 813-877-HELP (4357) or email me at