6 Collateral Consequences of Felony Convictions


Facing a felony charge is a life-altering event that extends far beyond the immediate legal repercussions. A conviction can unravel layers of collateral consequences that impact various facets of daily life for the accused and their families. Keep reading to delve deeper into this matter.

1. Housing Challenges

Being convicted of a felony can significantly limit housing options. Many private landlords and public housing authorities are hesitant to rent to individuals with a criminal record.

Landlords may look into the following:

  • Your credit history
  • Your criminal background
  • Your rental eviction

Unfortunately, the fear of potential liability and concern for community safety may outweigh the rehabilitative aspirations of those looking to make a fresh start. This can lead to a distressing cycle of instability as ex-felons search for housing.

2. Difficulty Accessing Higher Education

Higher education is a pathway to employment and personal development, but a felony conviction can hamper access to this route. Institutions have processes to determine whether applicants with criminal history may attend.

Processes may include:

  • Whether the applicant's criminal history had a relationship with a specific academic program or campus residency
  • Age of the applicant at the time of their criminal history
  • Time that has elapsed between
  • Nature of the criminal history
  • Evidence of good conduct

While it is not impossible to pursue higher education with a past felony conviction, it can be particularly challenging, especially if the criminal history involves sexual offenses or serious violent offenses. These cases require additional scrutiny and consideration due to the potential risks they may pose to the campus community.

3. Loss of Right to Bear Arms

The federal Gun Control Act, 18 U.S.C. §922(f)(2)(g), prohibits certain individuals from possessing firearms or ammunition, including convicted felons and those convicted of a domestic violence misdemeanor.

Furthermore, in accordance with RCW 9.41.040, it is unlawful for a person to own, possess, or control a firearm if they have previously been convicted of a felony offense.

4. Loss of DNA Privacy

According to RCW 43.43.754, a biological sample from every adult or juvenile individual who has been convicted of a felony will be collected.

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.

5. Child Custody Challenges

A conviction can have profound implications on family dynamics, particularly concerning child custody arrangements. For example, if you have custody and are incarcerated, you will lose custody. This can create significant challenges for both the parent and the child, as the parent's absence can impact the child's emotional well-being.

Furthermore, if you find yourself in the situation of looking to attain child custody after serving your sentence, the courts prioritize the child's best interest. However, a felony conviction can weigh heavily against maintaining custody. The court will carefully consider the nature of the offense, the potential risk it poses to the child, and the parent's ability to provide a safe and nurturing environment.

Contact Our Criminal Defense Attorneys

Being informed about the collateral consequences of a felony conviction is important for those facing charges and their loved ones. At Hester Law Group, our felony defense lawyers are committed to not only addressing the immediate concerns of your case but also creating personalized solutions for your case.

We empathize with the diverse challenges our clients may encounter and strive to alleviate them through resolute and effective representation.

If you or someone you know is grappling with a felony charge, don't hesitate to reach out. Contact our team today by dialing (253) 300-3034 or sending us a message online.

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