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Understanding Collateral Consequences in Criminal Cases

When you are charged with a criminal offense, your life will be disrupted simply by virtue of being charged. Even if the case is resolved favorably and rapidly, at a minimum, you must appear in court, consult with an attorney, and potentially cooperate with pre-trial supervision officers. If the matter is not resolved favorably or rapidly, the disruption to your life in dealing with the charges will increase.

Faced with the immediate claims on one’s time and efforts when they are charged with an offense, many defendants forget to keep one eye on the future. When the case is done, there can be direct and collateral consequences that can affect defendants long after the transitory disruptions during the case have come and gone.

Most people know about the potential direct consequences of a criminal case: if convicted, one could face prison, jail, probation supervision, or a fine. When I talk about “collateral consequences,” however, I often get blank stares in return.

Collateral consequences are those side effects of a criminal conviction which may never be explained to you by a judge. Often, a criminal conviction can affect your professional licenses, driver’s license, eligibility for federal housing assistance or student loans, or even where you are allowed to live.

I have had many clients who accepted what seemed to be a favorable plea bargain at their first court appearance, before they consulted with an attorney, because they wanted to get the case over with, and didn’t want to find and hire a lawyer to represent them. However, they end up becoming my clients after that hasty plea, when they learn that their job as a nurse or a school teacher or a massage therapist is in jeopardy.

These professions, as well as many others, require a professional license to work in that field. Each profession has a regulatory agency that governs the profession and grants, reviews, renews, and suspends licenses. The regulatory agency governing each of these fields requires practitioners to self-report to the agency if the practitioner is convicted of, or sometimes even charged with, a crime. By taking that hasty plea to avoid having to deal with a criminal case looming, another problem is created: a regulatory agency which could take away your license and your livelihood!

A conviction can also cause you to lose your driver’s license, your eligibility to keep receiving loans to attend college, or even get you placed on the sex offender registry.

Protecting Clients in Colorado for Decades

The criminal defense attorneys at Feldmann Nagel, LLC cover all the bases. I have taken on the cases of clients who have already exposed themselves to collateral consequences by prematurely entering into a plea, and helped them mitigate consequences to their professional career, sometimes to the point of dismissal of the complaint against their license. I have also taken on clients in the midst of their criminal cases, and worked out resolutions that avoid the possibility of professional consequences altogether. We can also work to help you keep your federal student loan assistance, or to keep your name from being tarnished by being placed on a registry, all while defending you against the charges themselves.

The consequences of a criminal conviction can extend much farther than most people realize. If you have been charged, you need to protect your immediate future and also plan for what comes next. The experienced Denver criminal defense attorneys at Feldmann Nagel, LLC can help you do both. Contact our expert Criminal Law Group to assist you in your defense at 1-866-477-8616.

Categories: Criminal Defense