A person convicted of a crime may face serious consequences that go beyond the sentence imposed by a judge. Many individuals may not realize the multiple serious collateral consequences that can result from a conviction.
A collateral consequence refers to a legal restriction or consequence that is not part of the criminal sentence, but nevertheless applies to a person based on their conviction.
Examples of collateral consequences include:
- Prohibition for life on possessing firearms for persons convicted of many drug or violent crimes. Both Texas and federal law limit the ability of those convicted of a range of crimes from possessing guns or ammunition.
- Potential immigration consequences for non-citizens, especially removal from the country and ineligibility for future immigration benefits.
- Prohibition against voting or serving on juries.
- Restrictions on working in certain fields and difficulties finding employment. For example, a person may be prohibited by law from working as a teacher or health care worker. Many employers are also reluctant to hire somebody with a criminal record.
- Difficulty finding rental housing. Many landlords are reluctant to rent an apartment to a person with a criminal record.
- Loss of driver’s license if convicted of an impaired driving offense.
- Restrictions on international travel in certain circumstances.
The exact nature of any collateral consequence will depend on the crime of conviction and an individual’s circumstances, but those charged with a crime should be aware of the potential for consequences beyond those imposed by a judge at sentencing.
For anybody facing criminal charges, it is vital that you consult with an experienced attorney. Every person is entitled to a defense and should understand the full impact of any potential conviction. A knowledgeable attorney can help you prepare a defense and recognize the possible impacts of any conviction.