At Whelan Law Office in Nebraska, we are adept at uncovering all possible defense options when a client in Nebraska faces felony charges. The outcomes of each should be weighed carefully. Some, such as plea deals, may not be as beneficial as they seem at first.

Before you accept a plea deal, consider what the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights says about the possible collateral consequences of a conviction.

What are collateral consequences?

The law considers collateral consequences as civil sanctions because these restrictions and limitations affect your civil rights, statutory protections, freedoms and opportunities. They usually begin at the time when you have completed your sentencing and have paid your debt to society.

Sometimes, a consequence is directly related to the conviction, such as losing your driver’s license after a DUI conviction. This is not always the case, though. Some appear to be purely punitive, such as those that create barriers to financial aid and education, employment, public assistance and housing.

How do you know what the collateral consequences will be?

You may think that the prosecutor who offers you a plea deal would have mentioned what sanctions, restrictions and disqualifications you may face if you accept. However, he or she is not legally required to do so, and neither is the judge. In fact, these authorities may not even know. Across the country, there are over 44,000 collateral consequences.

Because of the sheer number and complexity, those who administer and enforce collateral consequences may not be fully aware of them all. The laws, policies and statutory codes that impose them are at the federal level, as well as the state and local level.

For information about collateral consequences and pursuing dismissals, acquittals and reduced charges for felony offenses, please visit our webpage.