The penalty for a criminal conviction does not end at sentencing. While most people are relieved to be done with their case; even if they are unhappy with the result, they often do not understand that their conviction may cause numerous problems for them down the road.
This article is meant to highlight some of those possible consequences. It is not intended to be a detailed discussion of these issues, but should at least make people aware of how a criminal conviction can have a lasting impact. Hopefully, it will make some people think twice about just “pleaing out” and opt to put up a more vigorous defense regardless of guilt or innocence.
Career Consequences – Generally only for a Felony Conviction
It would be impossible to state all the possible careers that could be jeopardized by a criminal conviction, some common ones include: firefighter, law enforcement, most government employment, working in a school (or even volunteering), certain types of truck drivers, and working in the airline field. It can also prevent or create obstacles in obtaining a nursing license, a license or practice law and other professional licenses. A misdemeanor involving dishonesty (think theft or fraud) can prevent a person from working the banking, insurance, securities or accounting fields.
Any criminal conviction can affect citizenship status of a non US citizen. Certain felonies make deportation and option. As this area is complex and keeps changing, it is beyond the scope of this article to go any further on this subject.
Possession of a Firearm
Depending on the nature of the charge, a felony conviction can prevent a person from possessing a firearm for either three or five years from the time of sentencing or release from a jail or prison. (See MCL 750.224f) In Michigan, a person can get a hunting license with a criminal conviction.
A conviction of ANYONE who committed a crime in a public housing tenant’s apartment, will result in the loss of public housing benefits. This can lead to some very unfair outcomes when the person is just a visiting relative who gets caught with a joint, but this does happen.
Driver’s License Revocation
A person can have his driver’s license revoked or suspended for a conviction of certain crimes. These crimes primarily deal with drug and alcohol offenses but can also occur in other situations such as not paying child support.
Sex Offender’s Registry
A conviction of any number of criminal sexual misconduct charges can result in having to register with the State of Michigan pursuant to the Sex Offenders Registration Act (SORA). In addition, a person required to register under this act must meet strict guidelines in keeping the state informed of moving, changes in employment and registrants are forbidden from being within 1,000 feet of a school (with some exceptions). These are the primary issues with being a convicted sex offender; there are other ones beyond the scope of this article.