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Collateral consequences of a criminal conviction

On Behalf of | Jun 24, 2024 | Criminal Defense |

Criminal convictions result in court-imposed sentences, but they also inspire collateral consequences that can have significant impacts on a person’s life.

Collateral consequences can make it hard to find a job or a place to live. They can affect a person’s ability to get an education or enjoy certain activities that many people take for granted.

Employment barriers

One of the most significant collateral consequences that a person may face after a criminal conviction is a restriction on employment opportunities. Employers are likely to conduct a background check before hiring. Certain convictions can lead to the person being passed over. This is especially true for professions that require licensing or certifications. Because of the employment limitations, it can be hard for these individuals to find suitable employment that enables them to support themselves

Housing difficulties

Another major challenge involves securing housing. A landlord may deny a rental application if the applicant has a criminal history, especially if the conviction is violent or related to drugs. Even public housing authorities may deny individuals because of these convictions.

Educational and financial aid restrictions

People who have a criminal history can have limits placed on their education possibilities. Universities and colleges may bypass applicants because of a criminal history. It may also be difficult to access financial aid, especially for drug convictions. A lack of education can significantly impact a person’s ability to have a meaningful career.

Civil rights and legal restrictions

Civil rights are also impacted by criminal convictions. Individuals may lose the right to vote, serve on a jury or hold public office, depending on the nature and jurisdiction of the conviction, for example. For people in Ohio, a new bill that’s being considered, the GROW Act, could help to address those collateral consequences. This bill would seal certain criminal records automatically if a former defendant can stay out of trouble for three to six years, depending on whether their conviction is a misdemeanor or felony.

While that is a positive development, it is generally ideal that a solid criminal defense strategy helps those facing charges to avoid a conviction in the first place.

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