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Collateral Consequences of Criminal Convictions in Washington State

Most people know that if you are convicted of a crime, there are consequences. People commonly (and correctly) cite jail or prison time, probation, and a fine as the consequences of a criminal conviction. However, there are also other consequences – some of which are life-long consequences, to a criminal conviction.

The Right to Bear Arms

If you are convicted of certain offenses, you will be barred from owning a weapon under both state and federal law. This ban may be lifelong.

The Right to Vote

If you are convicted of a felony, you no longer have the right to vote until your civil rights have been restored. The amount of time this takes varies based on the seriousness of the offense.

The Right to Travel to Canada

If you are convicted of a criminal offense, you may no longer be able to travel to Canada. Any conduct that is considered criminal in Canada will prevent you from entering the country. Practically speaking, this means if you have a DUI conviction, an assault conviction, or a theft conviction, you will be denied entry.

The Right to DNA Privacy

If you are convicted of any felony, you will be required to submit a DNA sample that will be entered into state and federal databases. These databases are searched periodically against unsolved crime samples. Particularly these days, when there are no standard protocols for interpreting DNA mixtures, your DNA profile could “match” a crime scene sample, even if you did not contribute to the sample. Washington state also collects DNA samples from people convicted of certain misdemeanors and gross misdemeanors, including

  • fourth-degree assault
  • harassment
  • stalking
  • indecent exposure.

The Right to Some Housing

Some landlords will not rent to people who have criminal convictions. Others may be reluctant to do so but may be willing to give you a chance. Additionally, if you are convicted of a felony, you will no longer qualify for Section 8 housing.

The Right to Federal Grants and Loans

If you are convicted of a felony, you may no longer qualify for federal grants and loans. This could jeopardize your ability to stay in school.

Immigration Consequences

Even if you are a legal immigrant in this country, a criminal conviction could result in your deportation. This is especially true for felony offenses and crimes involving “moral turpitude.”

College Admission Consequences

About half of all colleges consider criminal convictions when assessing an applicant. If you are convicted of a violent crime, you may not be admitted at all. Even if you are convicted of a minor offense, you may not be allowed to live on campus.

You Could Lose Your Job

There are many professions that require maintaining a license. For example, if you have a commercial driver's license (CDL), you could lose your license and consequently your job if you are convicted of a DUI. Other actions such as refusing to submit to a DUI test, leaving the scene of an accident, or even just committing two traffic offenses in three years will result in the loss of your CDL.

Additionally, many potential employers may be reluctant to offer a job to someone with criminal convictions or who is on probation. This is particularly true if the job involves travel outside the state.

You Could Lose Your Livelihood

If you hold a professional license and are convicted of a crime, you could lose your license to practice your profession. Acupuncturists, athletic trainers, chiropractors, cosmetologists, limousine drivers, nursing assistants, real estate appraisers, veterinarians, and white-water river outfitters all maintain professional licenses. A criminal conviction may result in licensing discipline or license revocation.

Do You Have Criminal Charges Pending?

Being charged with a crime can be a very scary thing. It is common to feel overwhelmed and helpless. However, you don't have to face these charges alone. Attorney Vinny Randhawa can help. Sometimes cases can be resolved without a guilty plea. Other times, cases can be won at trial. And finally, a case can be negotiated in a way that doesn't involve the collateral consequences you fear the most.

Vinny Randhawa handles criminal cases throughout the greater Seattle, Washington area, including King County, Pierce County, and Snohomish County. He offers compassionate, supportive legal representation to people facing felony, gross misdemeanor, and misdemeanor charges. Call today to discuss your case and the direct and collateral consequences of those charges. Vinny can be reached at (425) 228-2202.

Contact Us Today!

If you're ready to secure experienced defense for your criminal matter, call (425) 228-2202 to schedule a free case evaluation.

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