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Collateral Consequences of a Criminal Conviction

| Sep 2, 2017 | Criminal Law |

A criminal conviction may have an impact in a person’s life even after the person has served their sentence and resumed living a law-abiding life. Beyond the social impact of having a criminal record, a conviction can have a number collateral consequences that can negatively impact someone’s life. These consequences are varied, are often long-lasting (sometimes permanent) and in some cases have more serious consequences that the actual sentence that was imposed.


First, convictions can have economic consequences. For example, some convictions can lead to a person being denied or being restricted from receiving housing assistance and federal student aid. In terms of employment, a conviction may result in the loss of a professional license, or present a difficult hurdle or bar to future employment or licensing.

A criminal conviction can also mean the loss of the right to own firearms. Conviction for a felony, or even a misdemeanor involving domestic violence, is a bar to the possession of a firearm or ammunition. Possessing a firearm after such a conviction is a federal offense, punishable by 10 years’ imprisonment. The bar to firearms’ possession extends even to misdemeanor domestic violence offenses committed “recklessly,” rather than intentionally.

A conviction for certain crimes, or resulting in sentences of a certain length, can have dire consequences for a non-citizen that can affect the person’s life and ability to remain in the U.S. with their family. The conviction and sentence can not only make the person deportable, but prevent them from arguing to an immigration court that their having a family, employment and longtime residence in the U.S. should be a consideration. They may also be barred from re-entering the country. Crimes that can have significant immigration consequences include drug offenses and so-called crimes involving moral turpitude, such as theft and fraud. The potential consequences are so severe that the Supreme Court has held that the Constitution requires lawyers to advise their clients of immigration-related collateral consequences.

Relief is available for some of these collateral consequences, and if you are negatively affected by your convictions, you should discuss possible ways to regain your rights with your attorney.

Contact a Criminal Defense Attorney

If you are facing state or federal criminal charges in New York State, you should contact an experienced criminal defense attorney to help you fight the charges and avoid conviction. A conviction can affect your life in many ways for a long time to come, and may not always be expunged or sealed. Contact the experienced Syracuse criminal defense attorney George F. Hildebrandt, serving clients throughout Upstate NY, Central NY, Northern NY and Western NY.

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