If you are a professional, hold a state license or are engaged in a profession where your reputation is important, an arrest even for a misdemeanor can be a big deal.
Teachers and professors can find themselves out of a job or under suspension for a relatively minor offense. Something as simple as a shoplifting charge can not only be embarrassing, but can cause your employer to have second thoughts about having you around. If the crime involves anything remotely related to sex it is a major headache. Indecent exposure is the most common sex charge. Something as simple as nude sunbathing can get you arrested and get your face on Mugshots.com. A domestic battery charge can result in the loss of a concealed weapons license.
A DUI conviction, if you are a school principal or teacher can affect your career for years to come. As a criminal defense lawyer, I have found that tackling the problem quickly often gets a good result. There are pre trial intervention programs that are available for first offenders than result in a total dismissal of charges. Do not wait until your arraignment or your first Court date to seek legal advice. Getting in early with good legal counsel can make a huge difference in the ultimate result.
Do I have to tell my employer I was arrested?
It depends on the type of job you have or the type of license you hold.
If you drive for a living, a DUI can affect your license immediately. If you are a teacher, depending on the type of charge and depending on the terms of your employment, you may be under an obligation to disclose an arrest. If you hold a professional license and are a doctor or nurse or health care professional you may be under an obligation to disclose it to the licensing agency. If you are a massage therapist and the charge involves an alleged lewd touching it can be a career ending situation if not properly handled. If the offense involves a breach of trust such as stealing from your employer, even if it is for a small amount, it is critical that you not get convicted. Many people do not seek legal advice and go to Court and try and handle things themselves.
That is often a mistake.
As a lawyer, I never try and do my own plumbing or electrical work. That seldom turns out well. A criminal defense attorney’s experience is what you are paying for. Just as in the mechanical field, it is knowing what screw to turn and how far to turn it. Do not try and muddle through the Court system alone. That is like trying to sail through dangerous waters without an experienced captain. For over thirty years I have defended doctors, lawyers, real estate agents, bankers and trustees and absolutely understand the importance of even a minor criminal charge.
To a professional, nothing is minor
If you need help or want to talk, call me Peter Aiken at my Sarasota office at 941 366 3506
Sean O’Halloran in our Ft Myers Office 239-334-8890
Andrew Banyai in our Punta Gorda Office 941-639-6009