Collateral Consequences of a Criminal Conviction

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In New York, a criminal conviction can have far reaching collateral consequences on your life, far beyond the criminal case. Prior to accepting a plea or deciding to go to trial, you need to consider the collateral consequences of the conviction. Specifically, you should consider impact on the following areas of your life:

  • Immigration status,
  • Employment,
  • Residency and living situations,
  • Licensing issues.

Immigration Consequences of a Criminal Conviction

It is important to know that a criminal conviction can impact your ability to obtain or maintain a visa, green card and citizenship. Criminal convictions can also affect your ability to work, live and attend school in the United States.

If you are in the United States as a non-citizen, any criminal conviction can have serious immigration consequences. In some cases, your criminal conviction can result in commencement of deportation proceedings against you. Even if you are not deported, a criminal conviction can make it extremely difficult to obtain or maintain lawful status in the U.S., including your eligibility for an adjustment of status application (green card), citizenship and naturalization proceedings.

Green Card Holder:

If you are in the United States on a green card as an immigrant, any criminal conviction could result in deportation and/or revocation of your green card and loss of your permanent resident status.

Visa Holder:

If you are not a U.S. citizen but have another immigration status, such as an H-1B visa holder, O visa holder or V visa holder, any criminal conviction may have serious immigration consequences and may result in deportation and/or loss of your non-immigrant status.

If you a not a United States citizen, we always encourage you to consult an immigration attorney on the impact of the proposed plea in a criminal case. That is because the collateral consequences can result in loss of immigration status and maybe even deportation. We have been successful in persuading both state and federal prosecutors in offering immigration-friendly pleas to ensure that our clients are able to stay in the United States.

Employment Consequences of a Criminal Conviction

Some employers run background checks before extending an offer of employment to a candidate. It is always embarrassing needing to explain a criminal conviction to an employer. If your case has been dismissed or there is a finding of not guilty at trial, then you won’t have a criminal record. Even if you are convicted of a crime, there may be ways to get the conviction sealed.

Criminal Conviction Impact on Residency and Living Situations

Criminal convictions for certain types of sex crimes come with a requirement for registration pursuant to the Sex Offender Registration Act. If your conviction requires you to register pursuant to SORA, you may be severely limited in where you can live, as SORA has geographic limitations relating to schools, playgrounds and daycare centers.

Similarly, some pleas involve order of protection. If an order of protection is issued on your case, in favor of a member of your household or your roommate, you will need to relocate out of the shared residence to be in compliance with the restraining order.

Licensing Issues as a Result of a Criminal Conviction

Most initial licensing applications and renewals ask you to disclose criminal convictions, and in some cases arrests that did not result in a conviction. Examples of professions requiring disclosures of criminal convictions include:

  • Doctors,
  • Dentists,
  • Nurses,
  • Attorneys,
  • Bankers,
  • Realtors, AND
  • Teachers.

In some cases, the licensing board may deny a license or a renewal of a license to an applicant.

On the other hand, if you are applying for a professional license (e.g., medical or dental license) or an employment application that specifically asks if you have ever been convicted of a crime, and the answer is no, then the conviction will not be considered as an impediment to licensure or employment. That is why negotiating an Adjournment in Contemplation of Dismissal may be a safe alternative that would not have an impact on your license.

Prior to taking the plea, it is important to discuss and review with your attorney the licensing application to find out if you will need to disclose a case conviction or a disposition.

Contact Top Rated New York Criminal Defense Attorneys

If you are facing criminal charges, it is important to retain an experienced criminal defense attorney to fully understand the impact of the criminal conviction on other areas of your life. Our Firm can help you navigate the complex intersection between criminal law, immigration law and fight to protect your rights. We have the knowledge and experience to defend your rights, freedom and livelihood. Contact our firm today for a free consultation.