Assault charges can have employment consequences, even if untrue

Repercussions can result from criminal charges, regardless of the ultimate outcome. Indeed, it seems that even the mere allegation of illegal conduct can negatively affect other areas of an accused’s life, including social reputation and employment status. A recent suspension issued by N.F.L. Commissioner Roger Goodell provides context.

The player under scrutiny is Ray Rice, a running back for the Baltimore Ravens. Rice has been accused of assaulting his wife. Commissioner Goodell responded to the allegations by suspending Rice for two games -- independently of any criminal proceeding.

Notably, another N.F.L. personality may also receive a suspension from Commissioner Goodell. In this instance, Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay was arrested on drunk driving charges. However, the criminal outcome of his arrest is already known: His driver’s license was suspended for a year. The employer-employee relationship is not the same in this case, however, as Irsay could more accurately be viewed as one of Commissioner Goodell’s bosses.

As a criminal defense attorney knows, a conviction for assault, domestic violence or other violent crimes can carry serious penalties under Nebraska state law. Even more troubling is that the alleged victim often garners sympathy on his or her accusations alone. Every defendant is entitled to a fair day in court, but without an experienced attorney by a criminal defendant’s side, it may be hard to overcome natural jury bias. For that reason, anyone accused of assault or another violent crime should invoke his or her right to an attorney at the earliest opportunity. An attorney can work to assert defenses early in the game and hold prosecutors to their burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Source: The New York Times, " Ravens’ Rice Draws 2-Game Suspension From Goodell," Ken Belson, July 24, 2014