Many people take the saying “innocent until proven guilty” to mean that someone who’s facing criminal charges won’t have any restrictions placed upon them for a crime unless they’re found guilty of it. This is a serious misunderstanding that people often have, though.
Some defendants have restrictions imposed upon them long before their case proceeds to trial. The consequences that you may face if convicted of an offense may be significantly more limiting.
The limits on your freedoms that you may face post-conviction are collateral consequences. Learning about how your charges and a potential conviction may impact you is important. It may impact the defense strategy that you employ in your case.
What collateral consequences come with criminal convictions?
Most collateral consequences that people face have to do with felony convictions. There are more than 1,000 federal statutes that have collateral consequences for criminal convictions, yet most defendants don’t know about them. Law enforcement officers don’t have any legal obligation to inform you about these when you’re facing charges.
Some of the collateral consequences that a defendant might face when convicted of a crime have to do with where they can work or what jobs they can hold. They might have trouble finding suitable employment or housing or discover that they’re unable to vote or possess a weapon. Some convictions may prohibit a defendant from obtaining public assistance, making it challenging for them to support themselves.
Don’t make the mistake of assuming that your situation is different and that you won’t face collateral consequences if convicted of a crime yourself. You must put up a strong defense in your case. An attorney can advise what you must do to protect your interests in your legal matter.