All too often, when a client walks into my office, he or she is unaware of the collateral consequences that may result from DUI or controlled substance conviction. Most clients are unaware of what a collateral consequence is, let alone the plethora of non-legal repercussions, which almost always attach to criminal convictions.
What is a collateral consequence?
Collateral consequences are the indirect results of a criminal conviction. Direct consequences include the prison sentence, fees and costs. Examples of indirect consequences include ineligibility for federal welfare benefits, an increased risk of deportation, voting restrictions, loss of custodial rights, and difficulty finding employments after conviction.
The Constitution does require a criminal defense attorney to impart the direct consequences of a guilty plea to his client, it does not require criminal defense lawyers to disclose potential collateral consequences. It is important for lawyers and clients alike to understand both the direct and indirect consequences of “pleading guilty.” Below you will find a list of potential collateral consequences for motor vehicle and controlled substances convictions. Please note that this list is not exhaustive and a motor vehicle or controlled substance offense may or may not include any or all of the listed consequences.
Collateral Consequences for Motor Vehicle Offenses
1. Suspension or Revocation of Driver’s License: This consequence may seem like a no-brainer, of course you risk losing your license for driving under the influence! However, remember that this penalty is in addition to any prison time and fees and costs incurred resulting from a criminal conviction.
2. Ineligibility for reduction in automobile insurance rates and premiums.
3. Employment Restrictions: A conviction for a motor vehicle offense renders the offender ineligible to obtain nearly any professional bus driver position.
4. If you are an out of state resident, the Secretary of State is authorized to notify your home state of a driving conviction that occurred in Illinois.
Collateral Consequences for Controlled Substances Convictions
1. Ineligibility for Cash Public Assistance: Individuals who are convicted of a Class X or Class 1 felony are subject to mandatory, automatic, and permanent ineligibility for cash public assistance.
2. Employment Restrictions: Individuals who are convicted of controlled substances offenses are ineligible for employment with:
• Illinois State Police
• Park Districts
• Public School Districts
• Recognized non-public schools
• In-state charter school bus service provider
• Nursing homes, as a nursing assistant or aide
• Certain mental health care facilities
3. Ineligibility to serve as a foster or adoptive parent.
4. Ineligibility to receive certain governmental medical assistance
5. Revoked or suspended driver’s license.
6. Forfeiture of property related to the crime.
7. Deny sale or rental of home due to conviction.
Potential collateral consequences can touch on nearly every aspect of a client’s life, from his family, to his home, and his place of employment. When faced with the potential for a criminal conviction, take a moment to ensure all parties are aware of the specific collateral consequences the client might face. Doing so will help the client feel as though the criminal conviction, that may permeate through different aspects of his life, has been thoroughly evaluated and analyzed, both directly and indirectly.