Most people understand that being convicted of a criminal offense will
result in punishment – as imposing penalties is one of the core
elements of criminal law. Criminal penalties determined by the court and
applicable sentencing guidelines can vary widely, but generally include
terms of imprisonment, community service, fines, and probation.
While these are among the most concerning and immediate repercussions convicted
offenders will face, and although they are nothing to be taken lightly,
many individuals facing criminal allegations fail to grasp the comprehensive
and profound consequences they will face in the future should they be
convicted of a crime.
In many situations, criminal penalties can be overcome with time and a
positive attitude. The various collateral consequences that result, however,
can lead to long-term, if not life-long, limitations and restrictions
– which are created by the government and by society. It's why
having a seasoned
criminal defense attorney on your side is so important.
Understanding "Other" Repercussions
Understanding the types of repercussions convicted offenders face in the
United States can aid those who stand accused of a crime in understanding
that, often, their life is at stake. Collateral repercussions have the
ability to follow convicted offenders throughout their life, impeding
their ability to enjoy the full breadth of freedoms held by American citizens
and limiting their ability to function without restrictions in society.
While the nature of a crime, the specific charge, a defendant's criminal
record, and a number of other circumstances will hold bearing on the long-term
collateral repercussions they will face, it is safe to say that many convicted
offenders encounter consequences that extend far beyond imprisonment,
fines, and probation.
While not part of the direct consequences of a conviction, collateral consequences
can lead to additional repercussions in the form of losing a professional
license, losing the privilege of receiving certain government benefits,
losing the right to vote and serve jury duty, and others. Additionally,
convicted offenders may find that hidden fees and expenses will haunt
them for long periods of time, especially in the case of DUI offenders
who are forced to pay higher insurance premiums. Sexual offenders are
required to register as a convicted sex offender, doctors who commit fraud
can lose their ability to practice, convicted felons will be unable to
vote, some countries may prevent convicted offenders from visiting their
country, and more. The list can go on and on.
The social, emotional, and financial effects of these and other collateral
consequences can verge on the edge of devastation. Some social critics
have even gone as far as referring to collateral consequences of criminal
convictions as social or "civil death," and for some convicted
offenders, this term is all too true. Most significantly, convicted offenders
will find that their record limits the opportunities they have in life,
particularly when it comes to employment and finding a job. Such barriers
to opportunity can prevent those who truly want to change and turn their
lives around from ever getting started. In fact, many sociologists attribute
recidivism, or returning to a life of crime and incarceration, largely
to the fact that convicted offenders have limited opportunities for employment.
While collateral consequences are a subject of much debate and while there
are many advocates that push for change, the fact remains that as these
problems entail profound matters of societal views and opinion, collateral
repercussions are real and will continue to exist for the foreseeable future.
Take the Steps Needed to Protect Your Future
The Hammer Law Firm, LLC is a different type of firm for the reason that
we truly understand the numerous and profound consequences convicted offenders
will face in their future. Regardless of what the charge may be, our St.
Louis criminal defense attorneys treat every case as if our clients'
lives were at stake. We want them to avoid or reduce criminal penalties
as much as possible, but we also know that we have the ability to protect
their future. If you or your loved one is currently facing a criminal
allegation, please do not allow yourself to believe that a conviction
is without consequences. Take the steps needed to protect your future and
contact our firm today.