As explained on most of the pages on the website, jail, prison, fines, and probation are just some of the direct consequences you may be facing when charged with a crime. However, many of the consequences stemming from a conviction are collateral, and not directly ordered by criminal court.
Many of these collateral consequences are speculative and unknown until they occur such as losing out on future job prospects, being denied housing, or even, in some cases, being subject to public scorn. Other collateral consequences are known, or should be known, by your lawyer early on in the case such as the requirement of predatory offender registration if charged and convicted of certain violent crimes and sex offenses.
In a Minnesota Supreme Court decision today, the Court held that a defense lawyer’s failure warn a client that his guilty plea to a felony domestic assault conviction would require predatory registration under Minnesota law is not ineffective assistance of counsel under the United States or Minnesota Constitutions. To be fair, the requirement of registration in this case is a much overlooked provision of the predatory registration law as a felony domestic assault conviction, on its own, does not require registration. In fact, the judge, prosecution, and the defense lawyer never mentioned the requirement to register, probably because none of them knew of the requirement.
However, under Minnesota law, predatory registration is a collateral consequence of any conviction arising out of the same circumstances as a registrable offense (i.e. originally charged as an offense requiring predatory registration). Additionally, like in the case today, predatory registration is required if the person was previously registered for a different conviction, and is subsequently convicted of a crime against the person.
The Defendant in this MN Supreme Court appeal was convicted of criminal sexual conduct 27 years ago which required him to register for 10 years following the conviction. Only because of that prior registration requirement, his conviction for felony domestic assault, a crime against a person, requires him to register as a predatory offender.
Despite today’s ruling, it is ineffective assistance of counsel if a defense attorney fails to advise a client as to deportation consequences as decided in Padilla v. Kentucky. Failure of a defense lawyer to advise on potential deportation consequences violates a defendant’s Sixth Amendment right to counsel. However, the MN Supreme Court distinguished this case from Padilla.
Coley Grostyan is a Minnesota criminal defense lawyer.