What Are "Collateral Consequences" After a Criminal Conviction?

Posted on in Federal Crimes

b2ap3_thumbnail_illinois-federal-criminal-lawyer.jpgWhen you are convicted of a federal crime, the next step is sentencing. In sentencing, the judge will decide what the appropriate legal punishment for your offense is. This may include fines, jail time, or a term of probation. You may think that once the sentence imposed by the court is over with, you will be free to move on with your life as it was before. Unfortunately, a return to normalcy is unlikely for most defendants due to what is known as “collateral consequences.” Collateral consequences are any consequences of a conviction not imposed by the court. They are very real and may change the course of your life forever. In some cases, you may experience collateral consequences even if you are not convicted. Working with an experienced criminal defense attorney may give you the best odds of avoiding or minimizing collateral consequences. 

4 Collateral Consequences of a Federal Conviction You Could Face

In a more ideal justice system, serving your sentence would be the end of the matter after a conviction. In reality, it almost never works out that way. The more things have been going well for you, the more you stand to lose. Collateral consequences may include: 

  • Job loss - Companies routinely fire employees who have been convicted of a crime. You may lose any professional licenses you hold. It can be exceptionally difficult for felons to find a job that is anything close to what they had before their conviction. 
  • Social problems - You may find that people you considered friends are no longer interested in associating with you. Your neighbors may make you feel unwelcome. You may become a target for gossip or even harassment, depending on the nature of your offense. 

  • Housing - Landlords are free to refuse to rent to individuals with a criminal history. If you do not already own your home, or you lose your home while you are incarcerated, expect difficulty finding a new place when you are released. Most property management companies will not work with felons. You may not be able to live in a desirable neighborhood. 

  • Lifestyle change - You may find that your entire lifestyle is different. If your crime was financial in nature, you might be ordered to pay back any illegally obtained funds - leaving you with very little to live on. The change between your life before conviction and life after can be drastic. Your good job, nice housing, and respectable friends may vanish. It can be quite a culture shock, particularly for white-collar offenders. 

The only way to avoid these collateral consequences is to avoid a conviction. If your case has been publicized at all, you will need an attorney who is experienced in managing public image during criminal proceedings. 

Contact an Illinois Federal Criminal Defense Lawyer

Law Offices of Hal M. Garfinkel LLC, Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney is skilled at helping defendants minimize the impact of their criminal cases. Our experienced Chicago federal criminal defense attorneys can help you manage every aspect of your case, from courtroom defense to protecting your reputation. Contact us at 312-629-0669 for a free consultation. 



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