Hidden Consequences of a Conviction
You arrive in court for your “ticket” date with some anxiety, but no lawyer. The officer calls you over before Court begins and starts the conversation with something like, “You were polite so I’m going to do you a favor, if you want to get this over today.” The “deal” may involve the “favor” of dismissing a DUI charge and re-writing a new ticket for DUAC, or waiving or reducing a fine. While it may sound good, you may find out later, the “favor” is not so good.
The reason you hire a lawyer is not only to show up with you in Court, but to use his or her years of experience to examine your charge in light of the facts of your case, to explain and guide you in your options, and importantly, to know the collateral (or hidden consequences) of a plea.
The United State Supreme Court declared in Padilla v. Kentucky, 130 S. Ct. 1473 (2010) that lawyers, to be competent and effective in representing your interests, must be aware of the hidden effects of a plea, and inform the client, so you can make an informed decision. In that case, there were severe immigration consequences associated with the plea.
Below is a list of some, but not all potential hidden consequences that can result from a conviction:
- Loss of gun ownership rights
- Loss of driver’s license
- Deportation for some
- Prohibited travel into other countries
- Sexual registry
- Loss of possible benefits
- Employment issues
- Increased insurance rates
…to name just a few.
Consider this when deciding whether to use a lawyer and who to choose as your “guide” through the legal maze.