By: Mark Diaz
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Collateral Consequences of Criminal Charges
A criminal conviction can have serious collateral consequences for the alleged offender, both direct and indirect. The direct consequences are generally found within the state and federal criminal codes. They include things like prison time, mandatory probation, and/or fines. The indirect consequences are often referred to as collateral consequences and oftentimes, they cannot be quantified, and practically, they should not be overlooked.
According to the National Criminal Justice Reference Service (NCJRS), collateral consequences are the additional legal sanctions or legal disabilities that flow out of the criminal conviction. In this guide, our top-rated Galveston criminal defense lawyer highlights some of the potential collateral consequences of an arrest or conviction in Texas.
Consequences of a Criminal Charge in Texas
The collateral consequences of a criminal conviction are chronically underappreciated and frequently misunderstood. Unfortunately, defendants in Texas have no legal right to be fully warned about these consequences before pleading guilty to an offense. These sanctions are often found in many different sections of state and federal codes. In some cases, the indirect consequences of a conviction are more disruptive and more severe than the actual criminal penalties. Here are the two broad categories of collateral consequences in Texas:
Financial Options and Employment Opportunities
A criminal conviction will likely have collateral consequences for your finances and your career. To start, Texas state law allows licensing boards to revoke or suspend professional licenses after certain convictions and sometimes, even just after an arrest. You could be barred from continuing in your position in Texas. Additionally, you could also face potential asset forfeiture. State or federal authorities may try to seize property that was allegedly associated with criminal conduct. Finally, a criminal record could make it challenging to get an apartment or a mortgage loan.
Individual Rights and Privileges
A criminal conviction could result in a temporary (or long-term) loss of your rights or privileges. One common example is an automatic driver’s license suspension. Certain offenses, such as DWI or an arrest and conviction for a drug offense, often carry a license suspension as a penalty. Another issue arises with Second Amendment rights. Certain criminal convictions will make you ineligible to purchase or possess a firearm. There may even be family law consequences. An assault family violence conviction could impair custody or visitation rights.
The Bottom Line
The collateral consequences of criminal arrests and/or convictions must be considered. A plea agreement that initially seems favorable may be far less beneficial when the full extent of the collateral consequences are considered. Do not give up your rights without speaking to a top Galveston, TX criminal defense lawyer. We will make sure that the collateral consequences of an offense are not overlooked and explained to you in detail.
Schedule a Confidential Consultation with a Galveston Criminal Defense Lawyer
Mark A. Diaz is an aggressive, experienced criminal defense specialist. We will devise a defense strategy that best protects your rights and interests, including protecting you from the collateral consequences of conviction or guilty plea. For a free and confidential review of your cases, please contact our Galveston office right now. We proudly serve communities throughout Southeastern Texas, including in Texas City, Alvin, Pearland, Sugar Land, Pasadena, Baytown, and League City.