Collateral consequences are those that do not come directly from the court’s sentencing or probation orders. Instead, collateral consequences are penalties or limitations that result from third-party action taken based on information and records coming from the criminal case.
Whether your case involves felony or misdemeanor charges, the collateral consequences of a criminal conviction in Utah can have a significant impact on multiple aspects of a your life even after the sentence and probation are completed. Talk with your attorney to make sure you understand these potential consequences and how they may affect your future.
- Employment: A criminal record can make it harder to find a job, or may even result in being fired from a job you already have. Many private companies have contracts to work in government facilities or on government projects. Some of these jobs can require a person to obtain a security clearance before they can work. Some employers have policies against hiring individuals with criminal convictions, particularly for positions involving trust or requiring contact with vulnerable populations.
- Housing: Many landlords and property management companies conduct background checks before renting or leasing to a prospective tenants. Many landlords will simply refuse to rent to a person with a felony conviction.
- Professional Licensing: Certain professions require professional licensing or certification. Utah’s Division of Professional Licensing (DOPL) is responsible for issuing licenses and monitoring compliance with licensing rules. A criminal conviction can result in denial of initial licensing or rejection of a renewal. Alternatively, a conviction can give DOPL authority to place your license in a probationary status.
- Immigration Status: Non-U.S. citizens who are convicted of crimes in Utah may face immigration consequences, including deportation, denial of naturalization, or restrictions on visa applications. Particular care should be exercised if you are not a U.S. citizen. Even some misdemeanor convictions can have serious consequences on your immigration status.
- Education and Financial Aid: Some criminal convictions can affect eligibility for certain educational programs, scholarships, or student loans. A conviction may disqualify individuals from receiving federal financial aid. Admission eligibility to graduate-level programs (medical school, law school, etc.) can also be affected by a criminal record.
- Gun Ownership: Domestic violence convictions (felony or misdemeanor) or other felony convictions can make a person “restricted” for purposes of owning or possessing firearms under both state and federal law. These limits can impact both personal safety and rights protected by the Second Amendment.
- Voting Rights: Utah differs from many other states in that a felony conviction will only restrict your right to vote during the time that you are actually incarcerated (jail or prison). Once you have completed serving a jail or prison term, you right to vote is automatically restored in Utah. If you move to another state, you may still face voting restrictions there that may be addressed by obtaining and expungement or 402 reduction in your Utah case.
- Social Stigma and Relationships: A criminal conviction can result in social stigma, strained relationships with family and friends, and reputational damage that may affect personal and professional connections.
It is important to consult with a qualified criminal defense attorney who can provide specific guidance tailored to your circumstances and the potential collateral consequences you may face based on your criminal charges in Utah.