Any serious conviction, even those involving white-collar offenses, have some collateral consequences. These can sometimes have a bigger impact on the person than the court-imposed sentence.
What are the collateral consequences of a criminal conviction?
A collateral consequence is something that a person has to deal with that isn’t part of their court-ordered sentence. These can vary greatly, depending on the type of crime someone has committed. For example, a person who’s convicted of a drug crime might be unable to claim cash welfare benefits in the future or get student loans. Someone convicted of identity theft may have trouble finding work in retail, banking and business. Some collateral consequences last a lifetime, while others will expire eventually.
For some people, the worst collateral consequence they may have to deal with is one that impacts their career. Certain careers require licensing. It’s possible that a conviction could make it impossible to receive or renew a medical license, legal licenses and more. For example, a pharmacist who is convicted of a drug felony likely won’t be able to hold that license. A nurse who’s convicted of assault probably won’t be able to hold their license.
Other collateral consequences are personal. A felony conviction can damage your social standing, cause you to lose friends and affect your custody rights over your children.
Your defense should take collateral consequences into account
There are thousands of collateral consequences for criminal convictions in this country. Some of these are handled at the local level, but others are federal. Anyone who’s facing criminal charges should understand how a conviction can impact every aspect of their life. This might be a consideration as they work on their defense options. Discussing these with an attorney may be beneficial.