People who think about criminal charges often focus on the sentence that the court might impose. They may not think about the collateral consequences that are set up by various laws and those that are imposed by society. In some cases, these can be just as difficult to deal with as the sentence, and they can sometimes be even worse.
While many people think that collateral consequences are a good idea because of the public safety benefits, others believe that they are demoralizing and that they encourage people to return to illegal lifestyles. It’s easy to see why it might be difficult to live a productive life when you consider some of the consequences that come, especially for a person who is convicted of a violent or drug-related crime.
Employment matters are some of the more difficult to live with because they impact the person’s ability to get or hold a job. Many professional licenses require a clean criminal history, so the person is unable to obtain the license even if they’ve completed their court-imposed sentence. There’s also the possibility that a potential employer won’t allow a person to be hired if they have a criminal record.
Finding a place to live can also be a challenge because some landlords do background checks. There might also be restrictions about what types of establishments the person can live around. For example, a person who has a sex-related conviction may be unable to live near a daycare or school. People with violent criminal convictions might not be trusted near children, the disabled or the elderly.
There are thousands of collateral consequences that a person can face when they have a criminal conviction. It’s imperative that anyone who’s facing charges take the time to consider these as they develop a defense strategy.