Did you know that if you’re convicted of a felony in Columbus, you’re automatically banned from being involved in a bingo fundraiser or from operating a bingo game afterward? It may seem like a weird consequence of a crime that had nothing to do with bingo, but it’s state law nonetheless.
Most people know that when you commit a crime there can be serious consequences if you’re convicted in a court. You can be sentenced to jail time, required to pay a fine, and face many other court-ordered punishments. However, what few people realize is that there are hundreds of lesser-known collateral consequences of a criminal conviction in Central Ohio.
In essence, a collateral consequence is an indirect punishment for a criminal conviction and can include effects on your life that weren’t part of your actual sentence for the crime. In Ohio alone, you face well over 1,000 potential consequences written into law. Some of these are well-known, such as the possibility of losing your driver’s license after a drug conviction. Others are exceedingly obscure, including the ban from being involved in the operation of bingo after any felony conviction.
Possible Collateral Consequences of a Criminal Conviction in Columbus
Some of the collateral consequences that affect many former convicts in Central Ohio include the following:
- Revocation of voter’s registration: You cannot vote while incarcerated, and you must re-register after being released.
- Ban from using or possessing firearms: Federal law prohibits felons from acquiring, having, carrying, or using any explosive, firearm, or ammunition.
- Bar from public office: If you have a felony conviction, you cannot hold any public office in Ohio.
- Bar from jury service: People with felony convictions cannot serve on juries.
- Loss of public benefits: Most drug convictions will result in you losing federal benefits.
- Loss of military eligibility: Federal law prohibits felons from enlisting in any branch of the armed forces unless you get a special dispensation.
- Missed career opportunities: Many jobs require either a background check or a disclosure of any criminal conviction. If you have been convicted of a crime, you may find it harder to get a job later. Certain jobs prohibit former felons altogether.
This is just a small sample of the many potential unexpected consequences of a criminal conviction. It is almost impossible to understand the full impact that the collateral consequences of a criminal conviction can have on your life.
What to Do When You Face Collateral Consequences
While some collateral consequences of a criminal conviction can be reversed, many cannot. Even those that can be appealed or undone usually require years before progress can be made. That’s why it’s important to take the collateral consequences of a certain crime into serious consideration — and not just the possible jail or prison sentence — when you are considering a plea. Even after you have served your time and are legally considered rehabilitated, these consequences can make living a full life challenging.
That’s why it’s so important to get a lawyer working on your case who has a clear understanding of the true impact of collateral consequences. Too often, prosecutors and defense lawyers alike forget that a sentence that seems like a reasonable compromise may be much harsher with the additional collateral consequences that would follow the accused for years afterward. However, an experienced criminal defense lawyer can help you fully understand all of your options so that you can make an informed choice.
If you have been arrested in Ohio, contact the Columbus criminal defense attorneys at Luftman, Heck, and Associates today at (614) 500-3836 for a free consultation on your case. We will always be honest with you about the full impact of any choice and work hard to get your case the best outcome possible.