Even though the United States criminal justice system has a noble goal at rehabilitation, being charged with a crime can have serious and long-term consequences.
It’s sad but true.
Who would think that once you’ve paid your full debt to society for a bad decision made at a certain period in your life that you would be penalized for the rest of your life?
Because To Err Is Human…To Forgive Is Divine
Unfortunately, not in today’s society.
The collateral damage done from a criminal conviction can effectively limit access to various opportunities such as employment and housing limitations, to restrictions on voting and traveling abroad.
There’s more to a criminal conviction than just incarceration, fines, probation, and community services.
What Are Some Common Collateral Consequences
No one is ever truly prepared for the moment they’re convicted of a crime.
It’s important to understand these potential long-term ramifications so that you can make informed decisions during your criminal proceedings.
Ineligibility for Certain Jobs or Licenses – Depending on the nature of your crimes, you may be ineligible for certain jobs or professional licenses. For example, if you’re convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude, such as larceny or fraud, you may not be able to obtain a license in any medical profession. Similarly, if you’re convicted of a felony involving violence, you will likely not be eligible for law enforcement positions or security guard positions.
Inability to Vote – If you’re convicted of a felony, your right to vote is suspended until you complete your sentence and all parole/probationary periods associated with it. This means that even after completing your jail time and probationary period, you still may not have the right to vote until certain conditions have been met including paying all outstanding fees related to your conviction.
Housing Discrimination – Many landlords will refuse applicants who have been convicted of a crime due to liability concerns and fear of recidivism. While this kind of discrimination is illegal under federal law (the Fair Housing Act), it still occurs regularly throughout California. Convicted criminals may need to secure housing through agencies that specialize in helping individuals with criminal records find housing accommodations.
Immigration Issues – If you’re not a US citizen, a criminal conviction for a “deportable crime” or “inadmissible crime” can have serious consequences for your immigration status. Under US immigration law, certain kinds of criminal convictions can lead to a non-citizen being deported regardless of how long you’ve lived in the US.
Traveling Abroad – While many countries are open for visitors, there’s one thing they don’t joke about – criminal history. Some of these countries require extensive background checks, and if you’ve got some blemish on your record, getting a VISA could be difficult.
Loss of driving privileges – Driving under the influence or reckless driving among other things can land your license suspended and/or revoked.
It’s clear that criminal convictions can have far-reaching consequences.
However, facing the reality of these potential implications early on can make a tangible difference.
Being proactive in seeking help from trusted professionals who know how to navigate the legal system can result in more favorable outcomes.
The stigma and shame associated with criminal conviction may never fully go away, but it doesn’t have to define you or your choices moving forward.
Need help? Contact our office today!