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What are collateral consequences?

On Behalf of | Sep 17, 2020 | DUI

If you receive a conviction for a violent crime, you may experience collateral consequences. You need to know what these consequences are and how they can affect your life.

According to the United States Commission on Civil Rights, collateral consequences are restrictions that you experience because of your criminal record. You may face these restrictions whether you have a misdemeanor or a felony conviction on your record. While some of these consequences only last for a short period of time, others may last for the rest of your life.

Public benefits

You may be unable to receive certain public benefits after a conviction. Federal laws do not allow you to receive food stamps if you have drug convictions on your record. You might also be ineligible for programs that offer financial assistance to pay for basic living costs. Additionally, it may be more difficult for you to access Social Security and Medicaid benefits.

If you want to return to school after your conviction, you may not be able to receive federal grants. It might also be more difficult for you to access loans and work assistance programs. Your access to federal financial aid depends on the number of criminal convictions on your record. It is usually more difficult to acess this aid if you have multiple convictions.


A criminal conviction may prevent you from working in certain occupations. If your offense involved children, for example, you will likely be unable to get a job teaching. However, many employers run background checks and they may automatically disqualify anyone with a criminal record. Additionally, you may need to have an occupational license to perform certain jobs in Pennsylvania. A criminal conviction can cause licensing agencies to reject your application.