Repercussions of Criminal Conviction Can Echo Through Life

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A North Carolina couple west of Raleigh was not long ago convicted of poaching as part of their participation in a reality TV show filmed in Nebraska. The husband and wife have since returned to Hendersonville, where they will serve probation that includes a ban on hunting, fishing and trapping.

The pair owns an outfitting company. Could their business be harmed by their convictions and probation terms? They would not be the first people who have seen businesses, careers and other important aspects of life suffer after being found guilty of crimes.

The TV show pitted teams competing on hunts. The North Carolina couple’s hunting exploits were taped and broadcast and later considered unlicensed expeditions by the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

The couple appeared on a reality series called “Dream Season,” aired on the Outdoor Channel. Charges were filed against them in March of 2012.

Nebraska officials, along with U.S. Fish and Wildlife investigators found dozens of poaching violations, including 29 illegally taken deer, 25 cases of overbagging turkeys, 17 cases of failure to check deer and a handful of small-game violations, according to media reports.

The husband and his defense attorneys secured a plea agreement in which several felonies were dismissed and probation was ordered rather than incarceration.

His wife entered into a similar agreement.

The two were also ordered to pay $45,000 in restitution.

Unfortunately for many people convicted of crimes, the punishment does not stop at the courthouse door. They might receive probation and have to pay fines or restitution, but less obvious forms of punishment can take place in which relationships with employers or customers are damaged by a conviction.

Damage can also spread to relationships with friends and family whose perceptions of a person can be changed by a court ruling.

There is little doubt that in some situations, a client’s interests are best served by fighting at trial accusations of wrongdoing, while in other circumstances, negotiating a plea agreement that minimizes the impact on a person’s life is the best option available.

Source: Blue Ridge Now, “Hendersonville couple convicted of poaching,” Emily Weaver, Feb. 11, 2014