Collateral Consequences

Collateral consequences are consequences automatically imposed on a person at the time of conviction, even if the Court’s sentence does not explicitly outline the consequences. Collateral consequences can affect persons convicted of juvenile offenses, misdemeanors, felonies, and probation violations. Collateral consequences can affect educational or professional opportunities, housing, rights to firearms, public benefits, and employment. 

The National Inventory of Collateral Consequences of Conviction compiled the various collateral consequences by State, and then organized these by type. The website is solely for educational and informational purposes and does not constitute legal advice.

The “Collateral Consequences” brochure lists important areas of a defendant’s life that a criminal conviction can affect. The brochure functions as a quick checklist for defendants to review prior to consultation with defense counsel to discuss the collateral consequences of conviction but does not substitute for legal advice. 

Additionally, in October of 2017 the Collateral Consequences Resource Center released its 50-state guide to expungement and restoration of rights titled, "Forgiving and Forgetting in American Justice." This comprehensive report catalogues and analyzes the various provisions for relief from the collateral consequences of conviction that are now operating in each state, including judicial record-sealing and certificates of relief, executive pardon, and administrative nondiscrimination statutes. West Virginia’s Second Chance for Employment Act, passed during the close of the 2017 legislative session, is included. The goal of this document is to be aware of opportunities clients have for expungement, sentence reduction, and restoration of rights. This information is particularly helpful towards informing clients of potential collateral consequences and the future of their legal rights and social status following certain types of convictions. You can access that report here.