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What are the Non-Criminal, Collateral Consequences of a Conviction in Delaware?


An internet search on the sanctions for a criminal conviction will turn up such results as Delaware’s statute on classification of offenses and sentencing, but information on the other ramifications is harder to come by. Like many others who have served jail time and paid fines, you could be surprised to learn that there are collateral consequences that impact your life for years – or even your lifetime. A Wilmington felony charge lawyer can explain the extent of the implications, but you can also read on for some general information.

What are Collateral Consequences? These are the implications, restrictions, and legal disabilities that apply to people convicted of misdemeanor and felony offenses. Even after you endured your term of imprisonment, paid fines, and provided monetary restitution to victims of crimes, Delaware may impose limitations. Most affect your employment, business opportunities, finances, and certain freedoms. These are not criminal punishments, but rather the state’s way of protecting the public from the consequences if you eventually return to some of the same forms of criminal activity in the future.

Many of these collateral consequences will have an impact on your life regardless of the details of your conviction. Whether you resolved your case through a plea bargain, were charged with a lesser offense, or got a reduced sentence, the conviction is still on your criminal record. Even a criminal case in another state may affect you. Once the conviction is part of your history, it will remain – unless you qualify and get court approval for such post-conviction relief as expungement or records sealing.

Examples of Collateral Consequences: Delaware has enacted hundreds of statutes and/or legal regulations regarding those who were convicted of a crime. Not all will affect you, but some examples of collateral consequences include:

  • Challenges in finding employment, since some employers cannot hire individuals who have been convicted of certain crimes. If your offense involved young, elderly, or vulnerable individuals, there may be barriers in education or health care.
  • Professional Licenses: By virtue of the offense, the assumption is that you are a risk if you work in certain professions. Many involve positions where you have fiduciary responsibilities, such as law, real estate, and financial occupations.
  • Family Law Issues: A conviction can impact your parental rights if you are currently a party in a divorce or case involving child custody or visitation.
  • Immigration: Some convictions may trigger deportation proceedings or make you ineligible to ever become a US citizen.

Reach Out to a Delaware Felony Defense Lawyer Regarding Your Case 

To learn more about the collateral consequences of a conviction in a Delaware criminal case, please contact defense attorney Michael W. Modica. You can set up a no-cost consultation at our Wilmington, DE office by calling 302.600.1262 or filling out our online form. If you were recently charged, we can review your matter and determine potential defense options to fight the charges. For individuals who were already convicted, we can assess whether an expungement or other post-conviction relief would be an appropriate strategy in your case.

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