There is a long list of penalties for crimes ranging from Class 1 Felony to Class 3 misdemeanor here in Colorado. They involve serving time in prison, fines, restitution, classes, parole, sentencing alternatives, and other consequences. But having a criminal record can also lead to other life-changing consequences not listed in the sentencing guidelines.
For example, those convicted of a DUI also lose their license, must attend classes, have an ignition interlock system installed, but collateral consequences also mean that your auto insurance rates could skyrocket. Below is a list of some other examples of collateral consequences:
- Employment: Many employers do background checks on potential hires, and it is a red flag if they find criminal charges. The convicted can also mean you are ineligible for professional licenses and accreditation, revoked, or suspended.
- Assistance: Those convicted also may not qualify for some government programs like housing.
- Sex offender registry: The state updates the Colorado Convicted Sex Offender Search, and local governments may also note where you live. It is a felony if those convicted fail to register.
- Custody and visitation: Parents convicted of a crime may lose legal custody of their children, loss of visitation rights, visitations adjusted to include supervision.
- Housing: Many banks and financial institutions do not lend money to buy a home, and landlords similarly may not rent property to those convicted. Depending on the crime, you may not be able to live near a school or park or within a certain distance to the victim’s residence.
- Reputation: Convictions can mean a loss of reputation or stature within a company or community – family, friends, coworkers, and others in the community may know about the conviction. It can turn you into a pariah where you are often treated differently.
Fight charges option necessary
People are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law, but collateral consequences need not follow the same formal rules. So, along with the legal penalties, it is essential for anyone facing charges to fight collateral consequences. Attorneys can help protect your rights in court, and they may be able to get criminal records sealed. It is an excellent start for taking back control of your life.