In terms of ramifications - going through the whole process; being convicted, name in paper, having a criminal record - it was a major turning point for me. I became desperate enough to 'go to any lengths' to get better and have a different life. I hadn't been drinking at the time of my offence but had a long history of abusing alcohol - acting out how I did when 'sober' - I knew I need to never risk drinking again.
I went to rehab. 3 weeks, and my life changed. I was going to AA meetings and lived the 12 step way of life for years. Went to Uni, completed a degree, graduating too of my class, then onto another degree from which I have my career now. Huge huge changes from hitting that 'rock bottom'. I'd finally got to a place I was living the life I could previously only ever fantasies about - I was FREE.
It was years later, over a decade without being mentally unwell, that my city went though massive earthquakes, which triggered childhood based PTSD, and I've been struggling mentally ever since. One day I hope together back to feeling 'normal' again.
Where I live, if you don't commit any further criminal Offences in a 7 year period, you get a 'clean slate' - which means your record is sealed - exception being the police can access it and it has to be declared if travelling / visa / passport etc.
BUT when I needed to apply for admission to my current profession, it was 3 weeks short of the 7 years - so I had to declare my convictions - but, DESPITE my pretty serous criminal convictions, i was able to become the professional in a career I had always dreamed off, since a teenager.
I think most people do give 'second chances' and even if worse case scenario you (as in anyone) ended up with a record, it Isn't the end if the world
. If you can show you've made changes in your life since, then it won't affect yr life going forward and doing whatever you want to do
Long story short - making mistakes in the past doesn't mean it has to ruin yr life forever