Collateral Consequences of Criminal Convictions
Criminal convictions affect many aspects of your life, like employment, family, and reputation. But the consequences may vary depending on the jurisdiction, type, and duration.
Criminal convictions affect many aspects of your life, like employment, family, and reputation. Aside from the direct consequences such as fines, prison, and probation, there are additional penalties attached to criminal convictions. These penalties are called collateral consequences. Below are the most common forms of collateral consequences.
Those who are convicted of a criminal offense may suffer from disenfranchisement, or the exclusion from voting. Disenfranchisement can be permanent, or temporarily implemented until the convicted has served a sentence or completed a probation. This depends on the jurisdiction.
Limited employment opportunities
Most companies are very meticulous in their hiring process. They may be biased against those who have criminal convictions, limiting the employment opportunities of people who have them. Sometimes, the limited employment opportunity is a bigger financial consequence than the criminal punishment itself.
Limited housing opportunities
Government housing authorities and property owners may not allow those with criminal convictions on their premises, limiting the housing opportunities of people who have such convictions. These people are more likely to be in homes that have limited access to employment, medical services, and transportation infrastructure. This will affect the overall quality of their lives.
Loss of license
Professional licenses, such as for architects, engineers, medical practitioners, and lawyers, can be revoked or suspended because of a criminal conviction. Even simple licenses, such as for drivers, can also suffer the same fate, particularly because of reckless and negligent behaviors like driving under the influence and drug possession.
Even though these are the most common forms of collateral consequences, there are more out there that affect the lives of those who have been convicted. They may never be able to get pistol permits, federal student aid and loans, and government social insurance benefits. If you are not a U.S. citizen, a criminal conviction may have immigration consequences.
It is also important to note that being arrested for a crime does not necessarily mean that you are automatically guilty. You have the right to defend yourself from the possible consequences of criminal convictions, and the best way to do this is by getting legal help.