Seattle Criminal Defense Attorney

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Posts made in November, 2013

By on Nov 22, 2013 in Background checks, Civil Rights, Court, Criminal, Employment, Sentencing/Penalties | 1 comment

A while ago I wrote an article about the Collateral Consequences of a Criminal Conviction. Collateral consequences are those beyond fines and jail and probation, i.e. what a judge hands down. Collateral consequences are the inability to vote or being deported. For this week’s post I’m going to focus on just one of those consequences: employment complications. A recent article by The Nation reminded me of these issues. The subtitle of the article says it all: “How a Criminal Record Keeps you Unemployed for Life.” The article and its comments include a host of anecdotes from people who couldn’t secure meaningful employment due to a criminal record. The biggest issue cited by the article is fear from employers. Fear of the ex-con running amok, or fear that their clientele will think less of the company because they hired a criminal. The article makes it clear employee discrimination based on a record is often illegal. But tell that to the people with records still looking for work. I see this issue a lot in my practice. As a former public defender, and even in private practice, I work with people who have criminal records. Their lives are intrinsically, permanently worse because of the conviction interfering with their job prospects (or housing prospects or financial aid prospects). It’s a rare case for someone with a record to not be worse off in some way because of the conviction.   This is one of the reasons my ultimate goal in representation is to keep someone free of a criminal record. If someone walks in and for the first time in their life they’ve been charged with a crime, my goal is for their record to remain unblemished when their case resolves. Sometimes this can entail a fight. On a first offense, for a lot of crimes (not all) the prosecutor makes an offer that a defendant will plead guilty in exchange for zero jail time. Clients think this is a great deal.   Client: “Yay no jail! The case will be over and I can get on with my life.” Me: “Yay! Except boo because while the case will be over, the conviction will follow you forever!”   The problem with any conviction...

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The facts and circumstances of your case may differ from the matters in which results and testimonials have been provided. Every case is different, and each client’s case must be evaluated and handled on its own merits.