When facing a possible felony conviction, most defendants automatically turn their thoughts to the time they stand to serve in prison. This is an understandable reaction. However, there are consequences that extend well beyond the term of your sentence. In fact, a felony conviction – be it for sexual assault, first degree murder, or a felony drug crime – can follow you for the rest of your life. If you are facing felony charges in the state of Illinois, understand what these collateral consequences are, and how you can most effectively protect yourself against them.
A felony conviction goes on your permanent criminal record. This bars you from certain professions – at least 118 of them, according to the Illinois General Assembly Legislative Research Unit. A study from the National Institute of Justice also indicates that you are 50 percent less likely to receive a call back on almost any other job if you have a felony conviction on your record. With all of these employment restrictions, it can seem impossible to find a job that adequately supports you and your family after you have completed your prison term.
In addition to restricting your employment opportunities, a felony conviction can negatively affect your ability to find housing. Many landlords explicitly refuse to extend housing to anyone with a felony conviction. Those who are willing to approve you are not much better since, often, they request a higher deposit to move in. Furthermore, there are certain felonies that may restrict how close you can live to places like schools, daycares, and other locations where there may be children.
Sex Offender Registries
Those who have been convicted of certain felony sex crimes certain felony sex crimes have more than just limited employment and housing opportunities to contend with. These individuals also face social judgment, thanks to the requirement that they register with the state’s sex offender registry. Searchable by anyone and everyone – your neighbors, public school teachers and principals, employers, even complete strangers – a listing on this registry can make you feel like more than just a felon; it can make you feel like a social outcast.
Protect Your Rights with Help from an Aggressive Criminal Defense Attorney
No matter what your charge, no matter how convincing the evidence against you may be, it is critical that you seek help from an aggressive criminal defense attorney. This can ensure your rights are protected. In some cases, it may even give you exactly the help you need to mitigate or completely dismiss your charges. Do not take chances. Contact an experienced Joliet criminal defense lawyer today and get the legal guidance you need.