Collateral Consequences of a Criminal Conviction
When facing criminal charges in Lansing, most people focus their attention on staying out of custody. They are unaware of the life altering consequences that await them even if they are able to avoid spending time behind bars. If you or a loved one is facing a criminal charge, you should know that there are collateral consequences just for being convicted. These affect everything from where you are allowed to work to your ability to further your education. Call Lansing criminal defense attorney Tiffany DeBruin from DeBruin Law at (517) 324-4303 for a free consultation. We will work tirelessly to defend your freedom and help you avoid a conviction, if possible.
Often, it is not the time spent in custody, but the criminal conviction itself that can devastate a life. The legal rights that are lost and the societal stigma brought on by a criminal conviction are known as collateral consequences. Contrary to popular belief, these affect anyone with a criminal conviction. While certain consequences only affect felons, most apply to anyone who has been found guilty of a misdemeanor or a felony.
Common Collateral Consequences of a Conviction
During the Obama Administration, the opportunities afforded to felons in the United States were expanded. Sadly, very little attention has been paid to those convicted of misdemeanors, resulting in millions of good people struggling to turn their lives around. Overall, though, the collateral consequences faced by convicts and felons are similar, and anyone with a criminal record is likely to face many hardships.
Any criminal conviction will almost always lead to housing ineligibility. It is claimed that landlords are not legally allowed to deny housing based on a criminal record alone, but many do. It is also possible for someone to be evicted from their residence, even if the crime is minor.
The Right to Vote
Whether or not past criminals are allowed to vote is a topic that is widely misunderstood. Many believe that a criminal conviction of any kind bans you from voting, while others are convinced that anyone can vote, even while in custody. The truth is that voting restrictions vary by state and only apply to those who have been convicted of a felony.
In Michigan, someone convicted of a felony is only disallowed from voting while they are in custody, as there are no voting booths in state or federal prisons. Once they are released, felons have every legal right to vote. Their vote counts just as much as anyone else’s.
The Right to be a Juror
Those convicted of a felony will not qualify as a juror in the state of Michigan. This restriction applies in local, state, and federal courts.
Conviction and Employment
In modern times, the vast majority of employers utilize background checks when considering prospective employees. Even though it is strictly prohibited by Michigan criminal law, many organizations will immediately disqualify a candidate if they see a criminal conviction. Fields that are especially unlikely to hire someone based on a past conviction include, but are not limited to:
- Accounting: License will be revoked if a crime involving fraud or dishonesty was committed
- Aviation: Barred for 10 years from most aviation employment opportunities
- Banking and Finances: Candidates disqualified for virtually any crime
- Child Care: Most criminal convictions disqualify a candidate
Federal Student Aid
According to federal law, any person who commits a crime involving the sale or possession of a controlled substance while receiving student aid is automatically ineligible to continue receiving aid. This penalty can either be a suspension or a complete revocation depending on the number of past offenses. The ineligibility periods are as follows:
- Drug Possession: 1 year suspension for first offense, 2 years suspension for second offense, and indefinite suspension for third offense
- Drug Sale: 2 year suspension for first offense and indefinite suspense for subsequent offenses
How the Lansing Criminal Defense Attorneys with DeBruin Law Can Protect Your Quality of Life
Being convicted of any crime can have a devastating impact. From time spent in custody to an array of collateral consequences, there is little in your life that will not be affected by a criminal record. DeBruin Law Firm knows that good people are falsely accused of crimes every day. Our experienced Lansing criminal defense attorney will find the defense that is right for your case and fight to keep your record clean. Contact us today at (517) 324-4303 to see how we can help.