The Legal Consequences of a Conviction

The consequences of a conviction have both short and long term collateral consequences for those arrested depending on the nature of the crime, the age at which the crime occurred, and whether it is a repeat offense. The long-term repercussions of a conviction, or guilty plea are difficult to foresee, and underscore the need for experienced and zealous legal representation, as well as a basic understanding of your rights.
iStock_000007696540XSmall-300x199

The Short Term Legal Repercussions of a Conviction
              The short-term repercussions of a conviction vary depending upon the age at which the offense was committed, whether the crime is a repeat offense, and the nature of the crime committed. The short-term repercussions result from operation of state and federal statutes, and vary in length.

For those who are convicted, or plead guilty to the following crimes, the following legal consequences occur, in addition to any jail time or probation sentence.

Graffiti[1]: Graffiti carries a discretionary one year driver license suspension following a conviction or guilty plea[2].

Racing[3]: Racing carries a mandatory one year suspension, for minors under 18, ten hours of community service is also required[4].

Furnishing Alcohol to a Minor[5]: Furnishing Alcohol to a Minor carries a 180 day suspension or a one year mandatory suspension for a second offense[6].

DWI (For minor under 21)[7]: DWI carries a one year suspension[8], or between 90 days to one year[9].

DWI (Felony repeat offenders): Felony DWI convictions can result in a civil asset forfeiture action against the offender’s vehicle.

Minor Drug Possession (Any drug covered by the Texas Controlled Substance Act[10]): Minor Possession carries a mandatory 180 day suspension and the requirement to attend a drug education program before the suspension is lifted[11]. For offenders under the age of 21, the suspension period ranges from 180 days to one year following a determination of the need for drug education[12]. Under Federal law, any drug possession charges may render one ineligible for any federal benefits for one year, or five years if second drug offense[13]. One is ineligible for TEXAS[14], or TEXAS II[15] grants for two years following any conviction under the Texas Controlled Substance Act.

Multiple Traffic Violations: Multiple traffic violations may result in a suspension[16].

While short term repercussions almost all revolve around driver’s license suspension, these consequences can prove devastating to a person ability to maintain employment. These burdens are further compounded by the common need to pay fees associated with probation. Further, the loss of state and federal educational benefits, and federal assistance further burdens those who are convicted.

Long Term Legal Consequences of a Conviction
The long-term consequences of a conviction depend primarily on the nature of the crime, and whether the crime is a repeat offense. Note that the harshest long term penalties are associated with repeat drug offenses.

The following is a list of long term consequences for various criminal convictions. Note the list is not exhaustive, and further long term consequences may occur subject to state and federal legislative action.

For Any Conviction, Misdemeanor or Felony, State or Federal: Texas law permits the suspension or lifetime revocation of any occupational license following a felony conviction, or a conviction for a crime of “moral turpitude”[17]. Occupations covered by this statute include, but are not limited to:

Athletic Trainer, Attorney, Tax Professional, Emergency Medical Technician, Pawnbroker, Stenographer, Occupational Therapist, Physical Therapist, Massage Therapist, Midwife, Underground Storage Tank Installer, Long Term Care Nurse’s Aide, Nursing Facility Administrator, Optician, Polygraph Examiner, Respiratory Care Practitioner, Sanitarian, Athletic Agent, Teacher, Barber, Speech/Language Pathologist, Professional Counselor, Professional Engineer, Hearing Instrument Fitter, Fire Protection System Contractor, Securities Dealer, Architect, Interior Designer, Landscape Architect, Chiropractor, Land Surveyor, Professional Medical Physicist, Orthotist/Prosthetist, Private Investigator/Security Guard, Veterinarian, Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN), Interpreter for the Deaf, Chemical Dependency Counselor, Firefighter, Law Enforcement Officer, Cosmetologist, Pesticide Applicator, Fish Farmer, Code Enforcement Officer. Insurance Adjuster, Insurance Agent, Water Well Driller, Air Conditioning/Refrigeration, Contractor, Auctioneer, Boxing Promoter, Child Care Administrator, Funeral Director/Embalmer, Landscape Irrigator, Optometrist, Real Estate Broker, Real Estate Inspector, Acupuncturist, Dental Hygienist, Dentist, Dietician, Marriage/Family Therapist, Perfusionist, Psychologist, Physician, Registered Nurse (RN), Pharmacist Plumber, Podiatric Physician, Certified Public Accountant, Social Worker and County Librarian

“Crimes of Moral Turpitude” are defined as 1. The quality of a crime involving grave infringement of the moral sentiment of the community as distinguished from statutory mala prohibita; 2. Conduct that is base, vile, or depraved; and, 3. Something that is inherently immoral or dishonest[18]. Crimes of moral turpitude include, but are not limited to:

Issuance of a bad check (with intent to defraud)[19], Prostitution[20], Theft[21], Making a false report[22], Assault[23], Indecent exposure[24], Failure to Identify[25], Delivery of a Simulated controlled substance[26].

For State or Federal Felony Convictions: A convicted felon may not vote until completing all incarceration, supervision, and probation[27]. A convicted felon may not run for, or be appointed to public office[28]. Generally speaking, a convicted felon is prohibited from possessing a firearm[29].

Drug Possession/Distribution (Any drug covered by the Texas Controlled Substance Act): Federal student aid may be suspended for any drug offense conviction ranging from one year to permanent[30]. State, prepaid scholarships are forfeited after any conviction under the Texas Controlled Substance Act[31]. Further, one is ineligible for TEXAS[32], or TEXAS II[33] grants for life if said grant was taken, and the conviction occurred while the grant was used. A drug conviction will also impose a lifetime ban on access to Federal housing[34]. In fact, one convicted of a drug charge is not allowed to reside in any federal housing complex and one’s presence there may lead to the eviction of any family members associated with that person[35]. There is a lifetime ban on those convicted of felony drug offenses from accessing food stamps[36]. There is a lifetime ban on those convicted of felony drug distribution offenses from accessing any federal healthcare benefits[37].

While long term consequences of convictions range from life time bans, to discretionary revocation of professional occupational licenses, the effects can be devastating and lingering. The economic burdens can be particularly high for those who are already facing economic difficulties.

Conclusion
With the consequences; both long and short term, of a conviction or guilty plea clear, the need for experienced legal representation becomes apparent. Only with zealous legal representation, and a firm understanding of your rights, can you avoid some of the most onerous burdens associated with a criminal conviction.

Written by Hunter White

DisclaimerThe information contain on this site and in this blog post (“post”) is provided for general informational purposes only, and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information contained in this post should be construed as legal advice from The Gilbert G. Garcia Law Firm or the individual author, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any information included in, or accessible through, this Post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction. Any and all communications as a results of this Post and/or this Site, is not secure nor confidential. Further, the mere initiation of any contact with The Gilbert G. Garcia Law Firm, staff, lawyer or a message on this post/site does not create an attorney–client relationship.

Gilbert Garcia has been Passionately Pursuing Justice for over 30 years and founded The Gilbert G. Garcia Law Firm in 2008. The Gilbert G. Garcia Law Firm is a boutique law firm, specializing in Criminal Defense. Gilbert represents adults and juveniles accused of a crime and who have with a felony, misdemeanor or record cleaning case. Conveniently located on the courthouse square to serve Montgomery and Walker Counties. Gilbert became Board Certified in Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization in 1989. The Gilbert G. Garcia Law Firm is located at 220 N. Thompson St., Suite 202, Conroe, TX 77301.  www.ggglawfirm.com
[1] Tex. Penal Code § 28.08 (LexisNexis, Lexis Advance through the 2015 regular session, 84th Legislature)

[2] Tex. Transp. Code § 521.320 (LexisNexis, Lexis Advance through the 2015 regular session, 84th Legislature)

[3] Tex. Transp. Code § 545.420 (LexisNexis, Lexis Advance through the 2015 regular session, 84th Legislature)

[4] Tex. Transp. Code § 521.350 (LexisNexis, Lexis Advance through the 2015 regular session, 84th Legislature)

[5] Tex. Alco. Bev. Code § 106.06 (LexisNexis, Lexis Advance through the 2015 regular session, 84th Legislature)

[6] Tex. Transp. Code § 521.351 (LexisNexis, Lexis Advance through the 2015 regular session, 84th Legislature)

[7] Tex. Penal Code § 49.04 (LexisNexis, Lexis Advance through the 2015 regular session, 84th Legislature)

[8] Tex. Transp. Code § 521.344 (LexisNexis, Lexis Advance through the 2015 regular session, 84th Legislature)

[9] Tex. Code Crim. Proc art.  42.12  §  13(n)(1) (LexisNexis, Lexis Advance through the 2015 regular session, 84th Legislature)

[10] Tex. Health & Safety Code § 481.001 (LexisNexis, Lexis Advance through the 2015 regular session, 84th Legislature)

[11] Tex. Trans. Code §521.372 (LexisNexis, Lexis Advance through the 2015 regular session, 84th Legislature)

[12] Tex. Transp. Code § 521.342 (LexisNexis, Lexis Advance through the 2015 regular session, 84th Legislature)

[13] 21 U.S.C.S. § 862 (LexisNexis, Lexis Advance through PL 114-244, approved 10/14/16)

[14] Tex. Educ. Code § 56.304 (LexisNexis, Lexis Advance through the 2015 regular session, 84th Legislature)

[15] Tex. Educ. Code § 56.354 (LexisNexis, Lexis Advance through the 2015 regular session, 84th Legislature)

[16] 37 Tex. Admin. Code § 15.82 (Lexis Advance through all regulations in effect as of September 30, 2016)

[17] Tex. Occ. Code § 53.021 (LexisNexis, Lexis Advance through the 2015 regular session, 84th Legislature)

[18] Ludwig v. State, 969 S.W.2d 22, 28 (Tex.App. – Forth Worth 1998, pet. ref’d)

[19] Dallas County Bail Bond Board v. Danny Mason, 773 S.W.2d 586 (Tex.App.–Dallas, 1989)

[20] Holgin v. State, 480 S.W.2d 405 (Tex. Crim. .App. 1972)

[21] Benshaw v. State, 88 S.W.2d 495 (1935)

[22] Lape  v.  State, 893  S.W.2d  949, 958 (Tex.App. – Houston [14th Dist.] 1994,  pet ref’d)

[23] Hardeman v. State, 868 S.W.2d 404 (Tex. App. 1993)

[24] Polk v. State, 865 S.W.2d 627 (Tex. App. 1993)

[25] Lape v. State, 893 S.W.2d 949 (Tex. App. 1994)

[26] United States v. Ekpin, 214 F. Supp. 2d 707 (S.D. Tex. 2002)

[27] Tex. Elec. Code § 11.002 (LexisNexis, Lexis Advance through the 2015 regular session, 84th Legislature)

[28] Tex. Elec. Code § 141.001 (LexisNexis, Lexis Advance through the 2015 regular session, 84th Legislature)

[29] 18 U.S.C.S. § 922 (LexisNexis, Lexis Advance through PL 114-244, approved 10/14/16)

[30] 20 U.S.C.S. § 1091 (LexisNexis, Lexis Advance through PL 114-244, approved 10/14/16)

[31] Tex. Educ. Code § 54.633 (LexisNexis, Lexis Advance through the 2015 regular session, 84th Legislature)

[32] Tex. Educ. Code § 56.304 (LexisNexis, Lexis Advance through the 2015 regular session, 84th Legislature)

[33] Tex. Educ. Code § 56.354 (LexisNexis, Lexis Advance through the 2015 regular session, 84th Legislature)

[34] 42 U.S.C.S. § 1437 (LexisNexis, Lexis Advance through PL 114-244, approved 10/14/16)

[35] 42 U.S.C.S. § 1437 (d)(1)(5) (LexisNexis, Lexis Advance through PL 114-244, approved 10/14/16)

[36] 21 U.S.C.S. § 862a (LexisNexis, Lexis Advance through PL 114-244, approved 10/14/16)

[37] 42 USCS § 1320a-7 (LexisNexis, Lexis Advance through PL 114-244, approved 10/14/16)