You have just been presented with a plea agreement to reduced charges and penalties and you're pretty excited. The sentence is much less harsh than originally expected. The plea agreement is clear about exactly what will be required of you in exchange for a plea of guilty to those charges and the sentence is something you have decided you can live with.
But, beware, there can be collateral consequences to your conviction which aren't going to be spelled out in that agreement and which you may not realize until one, two or even more years beyond the conclusion of your case.
Depending upon the nature of the charges and the ultimate resolution, what you may not see in that plea agreement could hurt you and your family the most.
Certain offenses may make a convicted person ineligible to receive:
- Social Security
- Student loans, scholarships or tuition waivers
- Welfare benefits
- Public housing or other subsidies
An ex-offender may also face restrictions and limitations, such as:
- Jury service
- Commercial driver's license
- Firearm possession
- Serving in the United States Armed Forces
And as many people can testify, certain criminal convictions can adversely affect child custody in divorce situations.
While you may have been employed at the time of your conviction, times have changed and many people are finding themselves looking for a new job or profession. If you find yourself in this situation, you will be surprised how easy it can be for employers to conduct background checks on prospective employees without having to hire outside agencies. The Arizona Supreme Court has a website that allows public access to court information and courts are now making the details of cases within their system available to the public. Also, you may be denied certain licenses, permits or certificates for certain professions because of a conviction.
While it is nearly impossible for an attorney, without significant research, to be aware of all collateral consequences, hiring a certified criminal law specialist certainly increases your chances of full disclosure. Craig Penrod has been certified by the State Bar of Arizona as a criminal law specialist and The Law Offices of Craig W. Penrod has been involved in criminal and DUI defense for more than 20 years. Contact the lawyers at the Law Offices of Craig W. Penrod for a free initial legal consultation if you find yourself facing criminal or DUI charges.