What are the collateral consequences of a criminal conviction?

The immediate consequences of a conviction are what often worry a defendant most about facing charges or taking their case to trial. The consequences associated with a criminal conviction don’t stop there, though.

There are collateral consequences of being convicted of a crime. These extend beyond the criminal record itself. Many states and the federal government restrict the opportunities that a convicted felon has indefinitely after their conviction under the guise of protecting the public.

You may want to learn what the collateral consequences that you could face are. This knowledge may impact the defense strategy that you pursue in your case. The American Bar Association (ABA) estimates that there are as many as 46,000 collateral consequences. These are restrictions placed upon individuals with certain criminal convictions on their records.

What impact do collateral consequences have?

The ABA data shows that at least 70% of the collateral consequences are employment-related. Some local ordinances may prohibit certain ex-offenders from assuming positions in the construction industry, at schools or day care centers, as cab drivers and even as barbers.

Many government officials justify the imposition of collateral consequences by saying that they protect public safety.  Others argue that they don’t. They contend that collateral consequences increase recidivism or the likelihood that an ex-offender will re-offend instead.

Criminal justice reforms argue that convicted defendants re-offend because these collateral consequences don’t allow them to easily reintegrate into society following their incarceration. They note that their inability to find gainful employment makes them more likely to offend again.

Why collateral consequences should matter to you

No one facing charges wants to lose their freedom or have fines imposed. The added concern of collateral consequences makes matters even worse. You owe it to yourself to put up a strong defense in your case so that none of the above-referenced factors affect your life.