Impacts of Criminal Conviction on Rest of Your LIfe

Once you’re arrested on criminal charges, your focus immediately shifts to the prospect of a prison sentence and time away from your family, and rightly so. If you are convicted, then you have little choice but to satisfy the penalties levied against you. After you have paid your debt, then you might have the expectation that life can, more or less, return to normal. 

Unfortunately, that expectation is almost always an inaccurate one. Instead, you should be prepared for your criminal conviction to follow you around, in some form or another, for the rest of your life. These ramifications of having a criminal record are referred to as “collateral consequences,” and we have presented a few common examples below. 

  1. Forfeiture of voting rights. Though many states have passed measures that allow for re-enfranchisement of voting rights for all convicted felons, Alabama is not one of them. Some felony convictions bar individuals from voting for life in Alabama, while others require a lengthy application process to get your voting rights restored. 
  2. Effects on housing. Those who turn to public housing have their own set of obstacles to overcome after gaining a criminal conviction on their record, but obtaining private housing is also difficult for offenders. The increasing competitiveness of the housing market, especially in urban areas, presents challenges to felons. Even renting is a challenge, as around 80 percent of landlords use some type of screening process for leasing applicants.
  3. Effects on employment. It is rare to find a job application that does not ask you whether or not you have had any felony convictions. Some applications even require you to list misdemeanors. During times when the supply of available workers exceeds the demand, as we are now, unfortunately, experiencing due to the coronavirus pandemic, a felony conviction can be an easy way for job candidates to get discarded. 
  4. Inability to get federal student loans. It sits in direct contrast to the idea of former felons making a new life for themselves after prison, but those with criminal convictions will have a difficult – if not impossible – time securing student loans. 


Though American society casts itself as forgiving to those who have paid their debt to society, that is far from a reality for convicts seeking to re-integrate themselves. The prospect of heavy collateral consequences makes it all the more important for you to retain the services of a competent and experienced Alabama criminal defense attorney. Call our firm today at 256-233-2025 so we can discuss your options.

John M. Totten