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Collateral Consequences

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Collateral consequences have evolved over the years for criminal defendants as a result of criminal convictions

By Attorney Elisabeth K.H. Pasqualini, Criminal Defense Lawyer, Harrisburg, PA

What is a "Collateral Consequence?"

The term "collateral consequence" is a recently coined term that was used as a synonym with "civil disabilities,"  "adverse legal consequences," and "indirect consequences."  It describes a wide-range of penalties that flow from a criminal conviction.

What are some examples of a "Collateral Consequence?"

At one time a collateral consequence was attached only to the kind of serious criminal conduct that was worthy of general societal condemnation.  Not any more.  A collateral consequence can range from a motor vehicle operator's license suspension to being excluded from a pool of potential jurors to deportation.  There are statutory and regulatory collateral consequences that may be triggered by broad categories of crimes (such as all felonies or all misdemeanors).

Here is a partial list of what some types of "Collateral Consequences" may affect:

  • Civil and political rights, such as, voting, jury service, public service, community service, and enlisting in the military
  • State and municipal employment and licensure
  • Federal agency employment and licensure
  • Federal regulation of state and private employment and licensure
  • Welfare benefits
  • SSI benefits
  • Veteran's benefits
  • Driver's licensing
  • Health care benefits
  • Public housing
  • Sex offender related consequences
  • Immigration consequences
  • Civil forfeiture
  • International travel restrictions
  • Firearms restrictions
  • Family-related consequences

Prior to the entry of a plea with any state or federal authorities, you should consult experienced criminal counsel with regard to what, if any, collateral consequences may be placed upon your future.  You may contact Shaffer & Engle Law Offices, LLC toll free or email us today.

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