Collateral Consequences

Collateral consequences refer to the additional civil penalties, sanctions, or restrictions that affect individuals due to their criminal record. They are separate from the sentence imposed by a judge once a defendant is convicted or pleads guilty. These often unseen penalties can have a profound impact on various aspects of a person’s life. 

Some of the most common collateral consequences include the following:

Barriers to Licenses and Certifications

Barriers to Licenses and Certifications

In the aftermath of a conviction, many discover that the path to working in their chosen profession is now complicated, especially in careers requiring licenses or certifications. Certain fields heavily scrutinize an applicant’s criminal history

Here are a few scenarios you might face:


Pursuing a career in healthcare after a conviction can be particularly challenging. State licensing boards for nurses, doctors, and other healthcare professionals conduct thorough background checks and can deny certification based on past criminal behavior. Rehabilitation and demonstrations of change play a critical role in these decisions, but the challenges remain significant.


School districts and licensing boards are particularly cautious, given the responsibility of educators. Background checks are a standard part of the certification process, and certain convictions can disqualify candidates from holding teaching positions.


State bar associations require disclosure of criminal convictions when applying for a law license. A conviction can be seen as a mark against the character and fitness requirements needed to practice law. Some convictions may lead to outright disqualification, while others require the applicant to undergo extensive review processes involving character and fitness hearings before any decision is made.

Commercial Trucking

Certain convictions, particularly those related to drug or alcohol offenses, reckless driving, or other serious vehicular crimes, can prevent a person’s ability to obtain a commercial driver’s license (CDL). 

This limitation severely impacts the opportunity to work within the trucking industry, which relies heavily on a driver’s legal and safety record.

Generally speaking, even if a criminal conviction doesn’t outright disqualify you from certain professions, it is always going to make it harder to secure employment.

Housing Restrictions

A criminal conviction can lead to significant housing consequences. It may result in being deemed ineligible for public housing benefits, as many subsidized housing programs have strict rules against certain types of criminal backgrounds.

Private landlords also commonly conduct background checks and might deny rental applications based on discovered convictions, fearing liability or potential property damage. 

Issues Obtaining a Mortgage

Many people don’t know that having a criminal conviction can actually affect the mortgage process as well. These records can create obstacles, as providers factor in your history when assessing risk and deciding whether or not to give you a loan.

Immigration Consequences

For non-citizens, a criminal record can lead to deportation, denial of naturalization, or refusal of re-entry. The immigration laws are strict, and certain offenses, including but not limited to drug-related offenses and crimes of moral turpitude, can trigger these severe consequences. 

This can lead to the separation of families, loss of employment opportunities, and an overall disruption of a person’s life that they’ve built in the United States.

Stigma and Social Isolation

Having a criminal record often brings with it social stigma, which can result in feelings of isolation from a person’s community or society in general. Personal relationships can suffer, as individuals might distance themselves from the defendant out of mistrust or misconceptions.

The Impact on Family

Convictions don’t just affect the individual who is dealing with the criminal charges; they can also have monumental consequences on the entire family. 

Convictions can impact parental roles and responsibilities, potentially complicating matters of child custody and parenting. Relationships with partners or spouses might come under strain, leading to additional emotional stress during already challenging times.

Loss of Gun Rights

For certain convictions, particularly those involving felony or domestic violence offenses, you could lose your right to own or possess firearms. 

The duration of these restrictions can vary; sometimes, gun rights are permanently revoked, while other times, they may be restored at some point.

Mitigating Collateral Consequences

While the range of collateral consequences can be challenging to manage, there are ways they can be lessened, including:


Expungement allows eligible individuals to have their criminal records erased or sealed from public view. This can open up opportunities that may have been previously unavailable due to a criminal conviction.

Plea Deals

Through plea bargains, sentences might be lessened or structured in ways to reduce their long-term impact – for instance, making sure a person pleads guilty to a charge that won’t affect their immigration status.

Rehabilitative Programs

Participating in rehabilitation programs can sometimes be used to reduce the severity of sentences, demonstrating a defendant’s commitment to change. 

Work With an Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer To Minimize Collateral Consequences

An experienced attorney can be instrumental in minimizing collateral consequences. They can advocate for favorable outcomes, whether this is a plea deal or an expungement later on. They will make sure you weigh all your options and make the best decision for your future.

Ultimately, working with a skilled criminal defense attorney is crucial in safeguarding your rights and future. Contact Suhre & Associates DUI and Criminal Defense Lawyers today at (937) 531-0435 to schedule a free consultation with our Dayton criminal defense attorneys.