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Unexpected consequences of criminal conviction

Anyone charged with a criminal offense should consult counsel to understand the collateral consequence of suffering a criminal conviction. Convictions cause people to suffer direct and collateral consequences.

Direct consequences include what people would typically expect: penal and monetary sanctions, jail time, probation, fines, and/or court costs. Collateral consequences are typically unknown to a criminal defendant and may cause future impact on the person.

One example of collateral consequences exists for college students who apply for FAFSA financial aid. Such an applicant may be deemed ineligible to receive financial aid and scholarships for convictions for certain criminal (and noncriminal minor misdemeanor) offenses, including possession of marijuana in an amount less than 200 grams. The FAFSA ineligibility may last from one year to permanent. Furthermore, criminal conduct (without a conviction) may result in the removal of the student from campus housing and/or suspension or expulsion from the school.

A second illustration occurs with legal gun ownership and possession. Ohio permits the concealed carry of guns if the person completes required courses and is not prohibited from ownership and possession. The person must then apply for a carry conceal permit with the county sheriff who performs a background check to determine if the person has suffered any convictions that would legally prohibit him or her from owning or possessing a weapon. If so, the sheriff will not issue a permit.

A plethora of convictions exist that would prevent a person from obtaining a carry conceal permit and/or legally owning or possessing a firearm. These convictions would include most felonies, sex offenses, many offenses of violence, drug convictions and domestic violence.

Also, if a person were to possess a firearm, not concealed, he or she could be committing a crime for having prior convictions for certain offenses, including a seemingly insignificant minor misdemeanor marijuana offense. Further, if a person had been arrested and charged with domestic violence and a judge or magistrate determined them to be Brady disqualified, he or she legally could not possess a firearm, even without a conviction.

Moreover, noncitizen immigrants or visitors could be subjected to detention (in custody without bond) and/or deportation if they have been convicted of certain offenses. Detention and deportation are possible with violations of certain immigration laws, gun laws, sex crimes, drug laws, crimes of moral turpitude, domestic violence and DUI.

Similarly, professionals that have licenses which confer upon them the privilege to work in certain sectors could suffer suspension and/or loss of their license should they suffer convictions. Convictions must be disclosed when they renew their licenses.

Similarly, all new applications must disclose all convictions in their initial application. If a self-disclosure or a record check reveals convictions, a board may revoke or suspend a license or ban the applicant from sitting for the exams, designate a period of time that must pass before the person may sit for the exam or set conditions for the person to sit for the exam.

This article only sets forth some of the consequences that a person may collaterally suffer from a conviction and is not all-encompassing. Seek counsel before you decide whether you should plead guilty to an offense or decide to take a case to trial so that you are aware of all the consequences you may face.

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