Consequences of Criminal Convictions:
State or federal criminal convictions carry the potential for severe and significant consequences. The direct consequences of a criminal conviction are that a person may be placed on probation, sent to prison, ordered to pay a fine, or perform community service.
However, there are also collateral consequences that flow from a criminal conviction.
For instance, you may be prohibited from buying or possessing firearms, seeking elected office, serving on jury duty, or voting. You may also have your professional license(s) suspended or revoked.
In some cases–the collateral consequences maybe harsher than the direct punishment that results from a criminal conviction. For instance, if you are not a United States Citizen, then you may be deported, excluded, or denied admission into the United States if you are convicted of a criminal offense.
(Note: If you are not a United States Citizen, then you should always discuss the immigration consequences of a potential conviction before you plead guilty or no contest.)
So what are the collateral consequences that occur after a criminal conviction? The list of collateral consequences that follow from criminal convictions are too complex to write about in one blog post. Fortunately, there are on-line resources that help provide answers to this question.
Professor Douglas A. Berman recently posted on his blog about a new website that addresses many of the collateral consequences arising after a person is convicted of an offense. Collateral Consequences Resource Center (CCRC) is an excellent on-line resource center for anyone facing the possibility of being convicted of an offense. The CCRC also connects to the Texas State Law Library, which has a link discussing the statutory restrictions on convicted felons.
I’m hoping the links in this post provide a useful resource for anyone accused of a crime and facing the possibility of being convicted of a criminal offense.
Being aware of these consequences can help you start thinking about how to resolve your pending criminal charge. For example, even if the evidence is sufficient to establish your guilt–it maybe possible to draft a plea-agreement that avoids or mitigates some of these collateral consequences.
Finally, if you are accused of a crime and facing a potential conviction, then you should always speak with a qualified criminal defense attorney to discuss the direct and collateral consequences that follow from a criminal conviction.
GENARO R. CORTEZ