Collateral Consequences of Conviction
In Minnesota, attorneys and the courts often call Collateral Consequences of a Criminal Conviction, the Four Cs. These are certain consequences – aside from the punishments of a criminal conviction like jail/prison time or probation. Such consequences can include loss of voting rights, deportation for non-citizens, and ineligibility for certain government assistance like student loans or welfare.
Examples of Collateral Consequences of Conviction in Minnesota
There are many possible collateral consequences if you are convicted of a crime in Minnesota. Some examples of some possible consequences include:
- Freedom to leave the state. Unless you receive permission from the court, you are usually not permitted to leave the state while the case is still pending if you are accused of a felony. Once your felony case has concluded, you will still need permission to leave the state until you are no longer on probation.
- Possession of a firearm. Federal law prohibits possession of a gun while you are under indictment for a felony charge. If you are convicted of a felony or a domestic assault, whether or not it’s a felony, you will not be allowed to possess a gun. This may be a temporary determination, so you should consult your attorney for specifics on how the law applies to your case.
- Sex offender registration. If the crime of which you are convicted is sexual in nature, you may be required to register as a sex offender. Your attorney can advise you regarding this matter and will be able to tell you how long you are required to report.
- Driving privileges. There are many traffic related offenses that do require your license to be suspended, revoked, or cancelled. There are strict time limits within which you can challenge losing your license. Even if you have not been charged with a crime yet, be sure to consult an attorney immediately if the authorities may be aware of a traffic related offense.
- Depending on the industry you work in and the offense you are convicted of, you could lose your job. Make sure your attorney knows what you do for a living, so this issue can be addressed proactively.
- Property loss. If you own property was used to commit a crime or was obtained with the proceeds received as the result of a crime, the property may be taken away. This is called forfeiture. If you have received a notice of forfeiture, contact your attorney right away. There are time limits regarding challenging forfeitures.
- Citizenship and deportation. Conviction of a crime can affect your immigration status and may trigger deportation. Be sure to make your attorney aware of your immigration status so they can consult an immigration specialist to assist with your case.
- Foreign travel. Whether you will be allowed to travel to a foreign country is up to the individual country. If you are hoping to travel outside of the United States and have a criminal conviction, it’s best to contact the American Consulate in the country you would like to visit. Don’t leave this to the last minute. Contact them before you purchase tickets. For example, Canada does not allow anyone with a criminal conviction, even a misdemeanor, to cross the border. It is possible to request an exemption, but it is a lengthy process that you will want to complete before investing money in a trip.
What Types of Crime Carry Collateral Consequences?
Most crimes, even minor offenses, have the potential to carry some type of collateral consequence. The consequences depend on the type of crime, the industry you work in, future travel plans, and other factors. You need strong representation to minimize your risk of collateral consequences.
What You Need to Know After an Arrest
Before you accept any agreement after an arrest, speak with a knowledgeable attorney. Let someone with experience explain what the further consequences of your plea or arrest may mean for your future.