Collateral Consequences Resulting from Felony Crimes Convictions

While some consequences of a conviction for a felony crime may be well-known, other consequences may not be as obvious. When a person is convicted of a serious felony crime, such as burglary or robbery, he or she may face jail time, monetary penalties, and other penalties and consequences associated with his or her sentence. However, after a convicted person serves his or her time, he or she will likely face a host of new issues and problems as a result of his or her criminal record. A Cook County man had to face this harsh reality today in Illinois.

According to The Chicago Tribune, south suburban school district board president Kenneth Williams was forced to leave his position today by order of a Cook County Judge. Mr. Williams has a 1985 Indian felony forgery conviction on his record, which is reported to have been widely known before he was elected to his position in 2009. This year in April, Mr. Williams was re-elected to the Thorton Township High School District 205 board again, despite his criminal record. However, last year efforts by the Cook County State’s Attorney commenced, and Mr. Williams was asked to resign.

When Mr. Williams refused to resign from his position, the State’s Attorney’s office filed a lawsuit to have him removed. Today that lawsuit was successful.

Mr. Williams’ case demonstrates just one of the collateral consequences of a criminal conviction: the inability to hold a public office, such as on a school board or other state board. There are many other collateral consequences that a person may not realize until he or she is faced with them after a conviction.

According to the Ohio State Bar Association notes several other collateral consequences that may be useful for convicted criminals and their families to be aware of:

  • Housing and welfare benefits: A conviction involving violence or drugs is a basis for losing public housing under the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s zero tolerance policy. Additionally, certain felony convictions can impact a person’s ability to receive Temporary Assistance to Needy Families and other federal programs.
  • Inability to purchase or possess a firearm: under federal law, felons may not knowingly acquire, carry, have, or use any firearm or ammunition. Illinois criminal laws also criminalize many acts that involve felons using, possessing, or purchasing firearms.
  • Immigration implications: a nonresident alien with a felony conviction may be deported.
  • Travel implications: many countries outside of the United States will not issue visas to travelers who have criminal convictions on their records.
  • Military service: convicted felons cannot serve in any branch of the military.

Additionally, certain convictions can exempt a service member or veteran from receiving veteran’s benefits.

These are just a few of the many collateral consequences a person may face after being convicted of a felony crime. If you have been charged with violating Illinois criminal laws, you should immediately speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney. An experienced attorney can help you understand the full consequences of the charges against you, and may be able to help defend your case. Contact Goldman & Associates today for a confidential consultation.

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