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Attorney Katherine A. Gonos
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Understanding the collateral consequences of a felony conviction

On Behalf of | Nov 7, 2023 | Criminal Defense |

A felony conviction can have a lasting impact on various aspects of an individual’s life, extending beyond the immediate legal penalties. These consequences, known as collateral consequences, are extensive and multifaceted.

They can also affect an individual’s personal, social and economic well-being.

Employment opportunities

Many employers conduct background checks. A felony record can often result in rejection from job opportunities. This can lead to financial instability and a reduced ability to support oneself and one’s family.

Housing and rental barriers

Finding suitable housing can be challenging for individuals with felony convictions. Landlords and property managers may hesitate to rent to someone with a criminal record.  This, in turn, can make it difficult to secure stable and safe housing. Homelessness or unstable living conditions can be unfortunate consequences.

Voting rights

In many states, individuals with felony convictions may lose their right to vote, at least temporarily. This loss of voting rights can affect an individual’s ability to participate in the democratic process, have a say in his or her community and advocate for his or her interests.

Educational opportunities

Felony convictions can also limit access to educational opportunities. Many educational institutions have policies that may restrict or deny admission to individuals with certain criminal histories, hindering personal and professional growth.

Government benefits

A felony conviction can also impact eligibility for government assistance and benefits, such as food stamps or housing support. In some cases, individuals with felony records may become ineligible for these forms of assistance, which can lead to financial hardship.

CBS News reports that 19 million Americans currently have felonies in their criminal histories. Understanding these consequences helps those with felony convictions make informed decisions, seek support and resources and work toward rehabilitation and reintegration into society.