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9 Tips on Moving Forward After a Criminal Charge

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Written By Adeyemi Adetilewa

A criminal charge can certainly be a life-altering event. It can change your reputation, your freedom, and your sense of self-worth. However, it is important to remember that it does not define who you are. 

No matter the circumstances that led to your charge, it’s possible to create a new and better life for yourself. You just need to know what steps to take, and how to keep on the right path.

Of course, not everyone’s experience is the same, but you can follow basic strategies that allow you to both learn and evolve. Interested in learning more? 

Below we will provide you with some tips that can help you tackle life after a criminal charge:

1. Seek professional help

The first step to moving forward is seeking professional help. This can be in the form of someone like a therapist, a counselor, or a support group with others who have gone through similar experiences.

Hearing other people’s stories and learning from their mistakes can be empowering and help you feel less alone in your journey.

A professional can help you cope with the emotions you may be feeling and provide you with strategies to manage them. They can also assist with developing a plan for your future.

When attending your appointments, always remember that these individuals are not going to judge you. Instead, they want to give you all the tools you need to succeed. 

If you don’t feel comfortable, don’t neglect your sessions altogether. Reach out to other professionals until you find someone that you enjoy speaking with. A few signs of a great therapist include:

  • They are a strong communicator.
  • You feel validated.
  • They check in on you regularly.
  • They can read your non-verbal cues.
  • They listen to you.

Seek professional help

2. Set achievable goals

Setting achievable goals is an important part of moving forward after a criminal charge. These goals can be small or large but should be specific and achievable. 

Some examples to keep in mind include getting a job, rebuilding relationships, or pursuing education or training. It could even be something as simple as saving for a new car or a gadget you’ve always wanted.

Not only will these goals help you stay motivated but you’ll be gaining skills that will assist you in the future. They can also be a great distraction if you are having negative thoughts.

Check out these felon friendly jobs if you are not sure where to get started.

3. Embrace positive habits

One of the best things that you can do to move forward is to embrace positive habits. A great way to do this is by establishing a routine that can help you feel more in control and give you a sense of purpose. 

Consider incorporating activities such as yoga, meditation, or reading into your daily routine. Additionally, surround yourself with positive people who uplift and motivate you to be your best self.

It can be rather challenging at first, but you will see the benefits in the long run. Thinking of the negatives will only pull you back down.

4. Make lifestyle changes after a criminal charge

To embrace positive habits and achieve your goals, you might need to make specific lifestyle changes. For example, you may need to find a new social circle and avoid situations that could put you in danger. 

These changes can be some of the most difficult, but they are essential to ensure that you don’t fall into old patterns that led to your charges in the first place. They can also be a positive step towards developing a new outlook on life, even if it may not seem that way at the start.

A few other bad habits you should avoid include:

  • Drinking excessively.
  • Smoking.
  • Staying up late.
  • Attending regular parties.
  • Avoiding leaving the house.
  • Not taking care of your general hygiene.

Your counselor or therapist can help you with these if you feel like they are impacting your life.

Make lifestyle changes after a criminal charge

5. Focus on your health

Any unfortunate event can be stressful and take a significant toll on your health. Therefore, it is critical to care for yourself and focus on your physical and mental well-being.

This can be in the form of exercise, healthy eating, mindfulness, or getting enough sleep. By improving your well-being you can stay focused and motivated while you battle all of these different emotions. You’ll also have all the energy you need to conquer your goals. 

6. Find a support system

Another step is to have a support system of people that you can turn to during difficult times. This can be family, friends, or a support group as we mentioned above. 

Having people to talk to and share your experiences with will provide you with the necessary support, especially if you’ve been experiencing addiction. Nobody has to go through a change like this alone, and there is always somebody out there to offer a helping hand.

7. Stay resilient

Another thing you must remember to do is stay resilient. Setbacks are a natural part of the journey. While they are difficult, they will ultimately make you stronger! 

Surround yourself with those that encourage you and inspire you – even if you have moments of relapse or self-doubt. Always believe in yourself, and your ability to overcome this obstacle and reach your full potential.

8. Celebrate your successes

When you have done something great, always take the time to celebrate your successes, no matter how small they are. Every step forward is progress, and it’s essential to acknowledge and celebrate these accomplishments. 

Your journey is unique to you, and you should be proud of every achievement you make. Don’t compare yourself to others!

Whether it be another job interview or a milestone on your list – you are following the right path, which is worth a celebration! 

9. Take responsibility for your actions

Lastly, to move on, taking responsibility for your actions is crucial. It can be difficult to accept responsibility, but it is necessary to move past the guilt and shame that can come with a criminal charge. You can’t change the past, but you can alter your future.

This doesn’t necessarily mean pleading guilty or accepting a harsh sentence, but instead refers to acknowledging that you made a mistake and owning up to it. By accepting what has happened, you can make amends and work towards a better life. 

Humans make mistakes, but there are also a lot of wonderful things we can do too. To start the process of accepting responsibility, try following these steps:

  • Make time for self-reflection and acknowledge what has happened.
  • Confess with someone you are close with and share your feelings.
  • Don’t blame others or make excuses.
  • Act, but don’t react. Be mindful and cool down when needed.
  • Work towards improving your self-compassion. 

Take responsibility for your actions


As you can see, moving forward with life after a criminal charge can be a challenging journey. However, you are not defined by your past mistakes. By following the advice above, you can work towards a new and exciting adventure.

When in doubt, reach out to your support network and communicate with others who have been in a similar situation. They can help point you in the right direction if you are ever feeling lost.

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