The consequences of a criminal conviction often involve far more than the sentence imposed by the court. So-called collateral consequences—meaning consequences that do not flow directly from the criminal sentence—can at times be as severe as the sentence itself.
For this reason, it is important that a person accused of a crime understand potential consequences that go beyond the sentence.
For many, the most serious consequence of a conviction is the loss of a job or difficulties finding employment. Laws may restrict or prohibit a person from working in certain industries, such as education or health care. Additionally, over 90% of employers run criminal background checks and many employers may be reluctant to hire a person with a criminal record.
For those who are not citizens, criminal convictions can result in removal or deportation from the country. A conviction can also bar a person from entering the United States in the future and may render the person ineligible for other immigration benefits.
Other potential consequences of a conviction include difficulty finding housing and denial of certain public benefits, including student loans in some cases. There may also be restrictions against entry into certain foreign countries.
If you are facing criminal charges, you may wish to speak with an experienced attorney who can advise you on your legal rights and any potential defenses. An attorney can also help explain the potential collateral consequences of a conviction.