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 in areas such as educational and professional opportunities, housing, rights to firearms, public benefits, and employment. 

Our Collateral Consequences brochure lis​ts important areas of a defendant’s life that a criminal conviction can affect. The brochure can be used 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. Feel free to print copies to share with clients.​

Many other organizations have compiled research and resources on collateral consequences as well:

  • The National Inventory of Collateral Consequences of Conviction​ database is searchable by State, type, and keywords. The website is solely for educational and informational purposes and does not constitute legal advice. 
  • The US Commission on Civil Rights ​outlines collateral consequences in employment, liscencing, housing, and public benefits in their thorough report​,​ Civil Rights Impacts from Collateral Consequences in WV.​
  • Through their Restoration of Rights project, the Collateral Consequences Resource Center has compiled state-specific guides outlining policies and practices around restoration of rights and record relief. West Virginia's Guide to Pardon, Expungement & Sealing can be found here​. 
  • 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 for informing clients of potential collateral consequences and the future of their legal rights following certain types of convictions.