All criminal convictions come with certain consequences. The type and severity of consequences faced, however, depends on the type of conviction, the person’s prior record (if any), and several additional factors.
Researchers often categorize consequences of a criminal conviction into two categories: direct consequences and collateral consequences.
“Direct’ consequences of a conviction are those penalties that most people think of when they think about what a conviction brings. They may include:
- Imprisonment in jail or prison for a period of time that may span months or years, depending on the type and severity of the conviction.
- Probation, a period of several months or years in which a person must meet certain requirements (such as obtaining a job, attending drug treatment, and avoiding certain behaviors like owning a firearm) and check in regularly with a probation officer. Failing at these requirements can trigger additional consequences.
- Drug Treatment, anger management, and similar programs.
- Loss of privileges like driving or keeping a firearm.
- Payment of fines, which may range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars depending on the conviction.
Other direct consequences, such as community service, may be imposed in certain situations.
Once entered, a criminal conviction stays on a person’s record, where it can have ongoing impacts on the person’s life even after time has been served, probation completed, and any other requirements of the direct consequences are met. These effects are typically called “collateral consequences,” and they include:
- Loss of certain civil rights. For instance, during probation or parole, a person may be subject to random searches of their person or property. The loss of the right to vote is common as well.
- Ineligibility for public benefits, licenses, or permits. Many benefits programs, as well as license or permit requirements, bar those who have certain types of criminal convictions. In some cases, the type of conviction is related to the benefit, license, or permit; in others, anyone with a conviction may not apply.
- Ineligibility for employment. Many jobs are closed to people with certain criminal convictions. Employers might also consider your criminal history when deciding whether or not to extend a job offer.
Both direct and collateral consequences can have a significant impact on a person’s life. If you’re facing criminal charges, your first step should be to choose an experienced Pennsylvania criminal defense lawyer who will fight to protect your legal rights and seek the best possible results. Contact Purchase George and Murphey P.C. today at (814) 580-5017 to learn more.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney/client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.