Collateral Consequences of Criminal Convictions: Judicial Bench Book

Collateral consequences are legal disabilities imposed by law that result from a criminal conviction. The laws that spawn these collateral consequences can create social and economic barriers for those with criminal convictions. They are known to adversely affect adoptions, housing, welfare, immigration, employment, professional licensure, property rights, mobility, and other opportunities open to others. The NICCC is a tool that enables responsible prosecutors, defense counsel, and judges to be aware of the collateral consequences of criminal convictions and to consider whether conviction for particular offenses results in unfair or unintended consequences and whether there are dispositions that would avoid such consequences. It also enables every state and the federal government to take a fresh look at the mass of collateral consequences that have developed over decades and then determine whether some should be eliminated, modified, or clarified. Before the creation of the NICCC, personnel central to case dispositions could not readily determine the extent to which collateral consequences deny those who have completed sentences opportunities for education, housing, and employment. The focus should be on restricting collateral consequences to only those proven necessary for public safety.

This report presents the features and purposes of the National Inventory of Collateral Consequences of Conviction (NICCC), which was developed by the American Bar Association to make accessible to criminal justice personnel and the general public the sanctions and disqualifications that flow from a criminal conviction but are not part of the actual sentence filed in a criminal case.

American Bar Association, United States of America

Link to document.