Convictions carry consequences beyond the sentence
Most people recognize that the consequences of a criminal conviction may include incarceration, fines and probation. But those facing criminal charges should also understand that a criminal conviction often carries significant consequences far beyond the sentence imposed by the judge.
Known as collateral consequences, these other consequences can have profound and long-term effects on a person’s life.
Among the most significant collateral consequences experienced by those convicted of a crime involve difficulty finding employment.
Depending on the nature of the conviction, a person may be barred by law from working in certain professions. For example, a person may find themselves prohibited from working in education, health care or a profession requiring a license.
Even if not prohibited by law from holding a certain job, employers are often reluctant to hire a person with a criminal conviction.
Beyond difficulty finding employment, many people with a conviction experience difficulty locating housing. Many landlords are reluctant to rent an apartment to a person with a criminal conviction and public housing programs frequently prohibit those with felony convictions from receiving housing benefits.
For those who are not American citizens, a criminal conviction can carry severe consequences, including deportation and ineligibility for re-entry into the country. It is critical that a non-citizen facing criminal charges understand the potential immigration consequences of a criminal conviction.
A criminal conviction carries other potential consequences, including ineligibility to possess a firearm and possible loss of a driver’s license. In many states, those convicted of a crime are also prohibited from voting, although California does not impose voting restrictions unless a person is incarcerated.
Consult an attorney
It is critical that any person facing criminal charges consult with a knowledgeable attorney, who can assist with evaluating potential defenses. An attorney can also help with avoiding potential collateral consequences if a conviction should result.