Collateral Consequences Of A Criminal Conviction


Much of the fear and anxiety that comes with facing criminal charges is about the aftermath of a conviction. We’re so used to our freedom that the thought of it being taken away or restricted is almost incomprehensible. But that’s the truth defendants must come to terms with when fighting a criminal offense in court. If they’re found guilty, they may go to jail or prison. Their loss of freedom will be absolute for months or even years.

It isn’t just the defendants who feel the worry and terror, it’s their families as well. When one parent is sentenced to jail, the other parent must support the family alone. The defendant may have been the only caretaker for an elderly parent who now needs to pay for assistance go without it. When someone’s convicted of a crime, it affects those around them.

There are clear and intimidating statutory repercussions of a criminal conviction, but the most harmful and hardest to move past are collateral. This is why it’s crucial to have an experienced San Diego criminal defense lawyer like Jessica McElfresh on your side to help avoid or minimize your criminal conviction consequences.

A Permanent Criminal Record

Once you’re convicted of a crime, you have a permanent criminal record. Whether on paper or online, the fact that you were charged and sentenced for a crime is always there. Anytime someone runs a background check, it will appear. When you fill out an application, you’ll have to admit it. A conviction is something you’ll carry forever.

You might think you’ll be able to have your criminal record sealed or expunged, but this is only allowed in certain cases. It can’t be counted on.

Applying to Colleges and Graduate Programs

Many individuals with criminal records attend college and graduate school. However, it can be embarrassing and detrimental to have to disclose a crime on a college or program application. You may be an excellent candidate for the school, but your grades, personal essay, and other recommendations might be tainted by your criminal background.

Additionally, if you don’t disclose a criminal record when you should, your application could be rejected or you could later face disciplinary issues.

Receiving a Professional License

Part of receiving a professional license, such as to become a doctor or a lawyer, is to prove you’re of good character and that nothing in your life demonstrates you’re unable to uphold the profession’s ethical standards. A criminal conviction could show otherwise.

You may have to provide additional proof to those who approve or deny the license that you can uphold their standards despite your past.

Getting a Job or Promotion

Many jobs require disclosures and background checks. A criminal conviction, particularly for a white collar crime, might make you ineligible for a government job or an unattractive candidate for government or corporate positions.

While employers shouldn’t discriminate, knowledge of a criminal past at work can make it difficult to form professional relationships and get promoted.

Renting an Apartment or House

While it’s illegal for landlords to discriminate against you, many businesses are wary of renting to individuals with a criminal record, especially if you were convicted of a violent or drug-related offense. If you’re continuously denied housing, your options for a safe and affordable situation dwindle. This can affect your and your family’s physical and emotional well-being.

Immigration Restrictions

If you were convicted of a crime while on a visa or green card, the conviction may prohibit you from taking the next step in your immigration journey. A conviction may cause you to lose your visa or be denied a renewal. If you were attempting to gain a green card and become a permanent resident, you may not be able to. And if you wanted to become a citizen, certain crimes can make that impossible.

Voting Rights

Many of us take our right to vote for granted until it’s taken away. In California, individuals convicted of a felony generally lose the right to vote while they are in jail, prison, on parole, and on post-release community or mandatory supervision. If an individual is in jail for a misdemeanor, probation violation, felony probation, or awaiting trial he or she can still vote.

Individuals on probation, or who have completed parole or supervision can automatically vote again.

Gun Ownership Limitations

Convicted felons in California aren’t allowed to buy, receive, own, or possess a gun. Individuals found guilty of certain misdemeanors give up gun ownership rights well. This means you can’t keep firearms you previously used for hunting or other hobbies. You can’t even keep antiques or show pieces you might have inherited or owned.

Felonies and some misdemeanors carry with them a lifetime ban on gun ownership, however, other misdemeanors result in a 10-year ban.

San Diego Criminal Conviction Consequences — How Jessica McElfresh Can Help

A defendant needs someone who understands not only the incarceration and monetary penalties associated with the crime but all of the San Diego criminal conviction consequences, including social, familial, political, and professional repercussions. Jessica McElfresh is a San Diego criminal defense attorney who truly understands the importance of proving your innocence and avoiding a criminal conviction.

If you’re facing a criminal conviction or you have a criminal record and you aren’t sure of your rights, call Jessica McElfresh today at (858) 756-7107.