Collateral Consequences to Criminal Convictions

COLLATERAL CONSEQUENCES TO CRIMINAL CONVICTIONS

Learn what comes with a guilty finding.  You might be surprised to find out that it is more than a question of jail.A guilty finding in a criminal case can carry more with it than just the question of whether or not you may be going to go to jail.  There are a whole host of collateral consequences that pop up, and many lawyers don’t discuss them with their clients, so you are going to have to take the initiative to step up and ask your lawyer or look into it yourself.
Here are a few common ones to keep in mind:

Immigration

If you are not a United States citizen, any form of a guilty plea could cause your deportation and affect any naturalization.  This is true whether you were here legally or illegally when the crime occurred.

Loss of License

Any type of motor vehicle crime could trigger a loss of license.  This is especially true if you are found guilty of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.  One thing to keep in mind with driving under the influence of alcohol is if you decline to take a breathalyzer there is an automatic license suspension for a period of time.  This is different than the license suspension that is part of the penalty for the crime. You could be subject to both.
Remember:  A driver’s license is a privilege not a right; therefore, the Department of Motor Vehicles has almost unfettered discretion.

Probation Travel Restrictions

Often times while on Probation there is a condition that you must remain in the State unless you get special permission from the Judge to travel.  This is not something that lawyers frequently discuss with their clients.  If you have to travel for work or if you are just someone who likes to travel, make sure that you bring this up with your lawyer and see if you might be able to get the judge to exempt you right off the bat.

Sex Offender Registry Board (SORB)

If you are found guilty of any offense that may be deemed a sexually based offense, you could be required to register as a sex offender.  This includes urinating outside, flashing people, and maybe sexting.  This is a very serious consequence for something that you may have thought was no big deal.  Make sure you check with your lawyer if you have any inclination that your case may trigger registration.  A judge has the power to order that you do not need to register, so better to get it taken care of upfront if possible because the default for the Board itself is to have everyone register.

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