If you or someone you know is facing criminal charges, it’s crucial to understand not just the immediate implications of a potential conviction but also the collateral consequences that can follow. 

Collateral consequences are what you face due to your criminal record – whether you’re facing a misdemeanor or a felony – long after the court case has concluded and any direct sentence is served. 

Understanding these types of consequences is critical for defendants so they can make informed decisions about their case and prepare for life post-arrest or after their sentence has been served. The following are some of the most common collateral consequences that come with criminal charges and convictions: 

Housing Trouble

If you’re a defendant with a criminal record, you may encounter significant challenges when seeking housing. Both public and private landlords often conduct background checks on potential tenants, which can reveal past convictions. As a result, landlords may deny your application due to concerns over reliability or safety.

Particularly with drug-related offenses or felony charges, you’re likely to find that many housing opportunities are off-limits – making reintegration into society even more challenging. Public housing authorities also have strict regulations that may disqualify individuals with certain types of criminal records from receiving government assistance.

Employment Issues

When facing employment opportunities with a criminal record, you’re likely to meet additional obstacles. Most employers perform background checks before they finalize hiring decisions. Depending on the nature of your offense and the job in question, your criminal history could lead to automatic disqualification or make potential employers hesitant to hire you.

Employment issues often stem from employer concerns about safety, security, liability, and credibility. This is especially true if the offense is directly relevant to the job duties – for example, a conviction involving theft might bar employment in positions dealing with financial responsibilities.

Professional Licenses

Having a criminal conviction can also make it challenging to obtain certain professional licenses, which are essential for various careers. State licensing boards often have specific criteria that could disqualify applicants with particular types of convictions.

The restrictions vary widely depending on the profession and jurisdiction but generally are related to ensuring the applicant’s suitability for their intended profession based on character and the nature of their criminal record.

Immigration Consequences

If you are not a U.S. citizen, one of the most severe collateral consequences of a criminal conviction is its potential impact on your immigration status. Even legal permanent residents can face deportation as a result of certain types of convictions, especially if the offense falls under what is considered by immigration law to be an “aggravated felony” or involves “moral turpitude.

Convictions can also lead to inadmissibility and denial during visa renewals or attempts at naturalization – where even minor offenses could jeopardize these processes. 

Parental Rights

A criminal conviction can greatly impact your parental rights, including custody and visitation. The court’s primary concern in these matters is the child’s best interests. A conviction, especially for violent or drug-related offenses, might be perceived as contrary to those interests.

This is especially problematic if you’re in the middle of a custody battle, as your criminal history will be under the microscope; a prior conviction may shift the court’s view of your ability to provide a safe and stable environment for your children.

Increased Penalties for Future Offenses 

Your criminal record can also determine how you might be sentenced should you face future charges. Prior convictions often lead to stiffer penalties under repeat-offender laws and sentencing guidelines. 

Prosecutors are likely to seek harsher sentences if there’s an existing record, and judges may have limited discretion depending on mandatory sentencing guidelines

Travel Restrictions 

A criminal record can restrict your ability to travel internationally. Some countries may deny entry to individuals with certain types of histories, particularly for serious offenses such as drug trafficking or violent crimes. If you plan on traveling, it is a good idea to check the specific entry requirements of the country you intend to visit by contacting their embassy or looking at their immigration policies online.

Those who are currently on probation or parole might face additional restrictions from local authorities, which could include not being allowed to leave a particular jurisdiction without prior permission.

Schedule a Free Consultation With a Criminal Defense Attorney

The reach of a criminal conviction extends well beyond serving time or paying fines. The collateral consequences can permeate nearly every aspect of your life, making it essential to consider these long-term impacts when navigating the complexities of criminal charges. 

If you have questions or need help with a case, contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer for a free consultation.

Contact the Cincinnati Criminal Defense Attorneys at Suhre & Associates DUI and Criminal Defense Lawyers For Help Today

For more information, contact the criminal defense attorneys at Suhre & Associates DUI and Criminal Defense Lawyers give us a call today at (513) 333-0014 or visit us at our Cincinnati law office.

Suhre & Associates DUI and Criminal Defense Lawyers – Cincinnati
600 Vine Street, Suite 1004
Cincinnati, OH 45202
United States