A criminal conviction can have a serious impact on a person’s life for years. While some consequences such as jail time, probation requirements, and fines are easy to identify, many are not as clear-cut. These indirect, collateral damages not assigned by the court can often be more difficult to deal with than the original sentence, especially with some plea bargains or probation sentences.
The most drastic consequences that some people suffer are deportation. Certain crimes invalidate the visas of legal immigrants, including green card holders. While this is a very this is very serious collateral damage, defense attorneys should warn clients of any risks the may this front. Guilty pleas are always joined with information a notice of potential deportation consequences.
For the majority of citizens, though, collateral damages from criminal convictions are seen in other ways. Many convictions, even some rather small drug charges, can lead to a loss of firearm privileges. This means not just that you cannot get a gun permit, but that any use of a firearm would be classified as a felony, including previously owned legal guns.
A person’s career can furthermore be permanently damaged. Many states permit employers to ask about a person’s criminal record when hiring or require some sort of background check. A criminal conviction would give many potential employers pause. Some jobs even require immediate dismissal of current employees if they are arrested for anything. For careers that require licenses, such as nursing or dentistry, often a criminal conviction can raise a red flag and prevent you from getting licensed. If you want to open a business, you may be prevented from getting a license from the state board if any high-level employees or founders were ever convicted of a crime.
Other collateral damages can include social harms. The stress after a conviction causes some couples to seek divorce. Other people lose friends. If you are convicted of certain crimes, you could be put on the sex offender list, which means you will never be able to visit your children at school events or adopt or foster children. You can even lose student loan eligibility.
On a more realistic, day-to-day basis, you may face a driver’s license suspension. Depending on your unique legal situation, you could be denied restricted driving privileges and face sizable fines. Most drug convictions result in a license suspension, as well as criminal traffic charges like DUI (OVI).
Find a Lawyer Who Will Consider the Consequences
Because the consequences of a conviction are so serious, you need to find a Cincinnati criminal lawyer who will consider not just the obvious costs of a plea bargain, but also the collateral damages you may incur. For these reasons, when considering whether to accept a plea agreement, you need to fully evaluate benefits and the collateral damage of accepting a guilty plea versus proceeding to trial. It is essential for counsel to advise their clients in an effective manner on all the potential associated with this liability.
The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers’ Task Force released a report earlier this year on the difficulty in totally erasing the consequences of a criminal conviction and asked the government to take actions to make it easier to serve your punishment and then get a second chance. It also gives guidelines for defense lawyers to consider when evaluating the benefits of a plea offer. Make sure that when you select an attorney to represent you that they are aware of all of these suggestions.
If you are arrested, you need an experienced criminal defense lawyer to represent your case well. You should make sure your lawyer will sit down and discuss all of your options, including the collateral damages of each. Call Cincinnati criminal lawyer Brad Groene today for a free consultation on your particular case at (513) 338-1890. Make sure you aren’t the victim of serious collateral damages.