Boston Criminal Attorney, Kevin J. Mahoney, Discusses the “Collateral” Consequences of a Guilty Plea.
If you decide to plead guilty (or if you are found guilty by a jury), the sentence or punishment the court imposes on you is just one consequence of your conviction. Other “collateral” consequences may have a lasting impact on your life and your family’s life. As you contemplate whether to enter a guilty plea and the specifics of that plea, talk to your Boston criminal defense lawyer about these potential collateral consequences:
The immigration consequences of a criminal conviction may be dire. If you are not a U.S. citizen, you may be deported or excluded from the United States upon conviction of certain crimes. Your Boston criminal defense attorney must advise you as to whether your offense is the type that may subject you to deportation, denial of naturalization, or force you to surrender your Green Card.
Depending on your occupation and the nature of the charges against you, a criminal record may significantly affect your employment prospects. For example, an employer may refuse to hire someone convicted of a drug offense or a crime of violence. In addition, a criminal conviction may subject you to a loss of your professional licenses. You also may be prohibited from holding office for a union.
If you were convicted of either drug trafficking or drug possession you may be ineligible for federal student loans or federally subsidized housing. Likewise, you may not be eligible for government assistance or food stamps. In Massachusetts, a convicted felon may receive SNAP food stamps unless he or she is fleeing to avoid prosecution, custody, or confinement, or is in violation of parole or probation.
State laws differ on whether and how a conviction impacts voting rights. Massachusetts allows felons to vote after they have served their prison sentence.
In many states it is illegal for people convicted of certain crimes to possess a firearm. Federal law imposes additional restrictions. In Massachusetts, a conviction for a felony, a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for more than two years, a violent crime, drug offense, or a violation of any gun laws, including those regulating the use, possession, ownership, transfer, purchase, or sale of weapons or ammunition, will deny you a license to own or carry a firearm.
Contact the Mahoney Criminal Defense Group
The consequences of a guilty plea or a conviction may affect your life long after you have served your sentence. Before accepting a guilty plea or risking a conviction by proceeding to trial, it is worthwhile to understand all the potential ramifications of a conviction. If you are facing criminal charges, contact the experienced Massachusetts criminal defense attorneys at the Mahoney Criminal Defense Group. If you would like to meet with us to discuss your situation, please call (617) 492-0055 to schedule a free, initial consultation, at our Cambridge, MA office.