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Collateral Consequences of a Felony Conviction

 Posted on July 24, 2023 in Criminal Defense

Chicago, IL criminal defense attorneyIn the US, the overwhelming majority of criminal cases end with a plea deal of some kind - not a conviction decided on by a jury of an alleged offender’s peers. There are myriad reasons why defendants feel the need to plead guilty. Chief among them is usually the sense that they will receive more favorable sentencing terms if they plead guilty – even if they are wholly innocent – than they would receive if they challenged their misdemeanor or felony charges in court and lost.

While it is true that accepting the terms of a plea deal or pleading guilty in the hopes that the court will be lenient is a gamble, admitting guilt rather than fighting back against the state’s case also results in a 100% guarantee of collateral consequences secondary to a defendant’s sentencing terms. These challenges should be factored into a defendant’s plea decision but are too often overlooked.  

Secondary Consequences of a Felony Conviction

Although some collateral consequences are associated with misdemeanor convictions, felony convictions are particularly consequential. Felony convictions result in a criminal record that can be accessed by employers, financial lenders, institutions of higher learning, landlords, and virtually anyone else who runs a background check. As a result, it is often difficult for those who have been convicted of a felony to secure employment, housing, financing, advanced educational degrees, and even volunteer opportunities after they have served their debt to society.

It is also worth noting that states impose a host of different secondary consequences on convicted felons, depending on that state’s unique priorities. Depending on where a defendant plans to live throughout their life, they could face restrictions related to the following, simply due to their criminal record:

  • The right to vote

  • Firearm ownership

  • Residency in certain neighborhoods

  • Eligibility for certain government benefits

  • Child custody

  • Immigration status

  • Professional licensure

Discuss Your Charges with a Chicago Criminal Defense Lawyer for Free 

It may or may not be in your best interests to enter a guilty plea. Every defendant’s circumstances are unique and what is best for one individual may not be best for another. With that said, each defendant deserves to make a truly informed decision about whether the risk of losing at trial is more significant than the certainty of the collateral consequences they will face if they plead guilty. If you have been charged with wrongdoing, speak with a Cook County, IL criminal defense lawyer at Law Offices of James F. DiQuattro today for free by calling 312-627-9482 or by connecting with the firm online. Once you have received personalized professional feedback in a confidential, risk-free consultation setting, you will be empowered to make whatever plea-related decision is in your best interests.


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