Strategic Defense
From A Former Prosecutor

Collateral consequences of a California criminal conviction

On Behalf of | Mar 18, 2024 | Criminal Defense

When people in California receive criminal convictions, the consequences extend beyond the immediate penalties imposed by the court. These collateral consequences can have long-lasting impacts on various aspects of a person’s life.

Understanding these collateral consequences is helpful for anyone navigating the criminal justice system and looking to rebuild their lives after a conviction.

Employment barriers

A notable collateral consequence of a criminal conviction is the barriers it creates to employment. Many employers conduct background checks on job applicants. A criminal record can diminish the chances of securing employment. Certain industries, such as health care and finance, may have strict regulations regarding hiring those with criminal convictions. This can further limit job prospects for those with a record.

Housing challenges

Securing housing can also be challenging for those with criminal convictions. Landlords and property managers often conduct background checks on prospective tenants. A criminal record may lead to rejection or denial of housing applications. Additionally, those with certain convictions may be ineligible for public housing assistance programs, which can further exacerbate their housing challenges.

Loss of rights and privileges

A criminal conviction can also result in the loss of certain rights and privileges. Depending on the nature of the offense, people may lose their right to vote or serve on a jury. They may also be unable to possess firearms or hold certain professional licenses. These restrictions can have profound implications for individuals’ civic engagement, employment opportunities and quality of life.

Per Californians for Safety and Justice, one in five state residents is living with a criminal conviction. By promoting reentry programs and supporting rehabilitation efforts, communities can work toward creating a more inclusive and just society for all.