Collateral Consequences as told by a Criminal Defense Attorney from Kalamazoo, Michigan

Whether you're talking to a Benton Harbor, Berrien County, Michigan Criminal Defense Attorney or a Grand Rapaids, Kent County, Michigan Criminal Defense Attorney, collateral consequences need to be explained.

Often, a defense attorney will be able to negotiate a positive resolution for their clients. Do not plead guilty unless you are sure that is what you want to do after consultation with an attorney. It may be possible to withdraw your plea after you have plead guilty. However, it may be difficult to impossible. Therefore, make sure your attorney fully explains the direct (typically jail/fines/costs) and collateral consequences of a criminal conviction.

Why should you be concerned with the collateral consequences? A criminal conviction (or adjudication) can impact several areas of one’s life. It can affect your ability to find and maintain employment, can result in Child Protective Service involvement with your child, could result in the forfeiture of real or personal property that are the fruits of or instrumentalities of the crime, can affect your ability to expunge past convictions or adjudications, could be used against you in a family law preceding (divorce, child custody, etc.) or other criminal or civil proceeding, can affect your ability to possess a firearms, can affect your ability to get or keep getting government assistance, can affect your ability to get or maintain professional or business licenses, can affect your driver license, can affect your ability to immigrate and may result in deportation, may result in your having to register as a sex offender, can prevent you from enlisting in the military, can prevent you from sitting on a jury, can prevent you from voting, can affect your ability to get loans and financial aid, and more. This list is not exhaustive and simply represents some common consequences of a criminal conviction (or adjudication). You need to look inquire into whether any of these could affect you. For instance, if you get government benefits, you need to look into whether it will be cancelled.

You are technically required to pay fines, costs, fees, and other assessments, including attorney fees, at the time of sentencing or immediately upon plea taken under deferment or a delayed sentence. However, many Courts will allow you to set up a payment plan, either after sentencing or after the plea into deferment or a delayed sentence.

Nothing in this post should be construed as legal advice. Prior to taking any action or refraining from any action you should consult with an attorney. This post references Michigan law only.