Collateral Consequences Assessment Tool

The School of Government recently launched the Collateral Consequences Assessment Tool (C-CAT). But, what is a collateral consequence assessment tool? For that matter, what is a collateral consequence?

The Collateral Consequences Assessment Tool, or C-CAT, is a web-based tool that centralizes the collateral consequences imposed under North Carolina law for a criminal conviction. A collateral consequence is a civil penalty that deprives a person of certain rights or privileges and is imposed as the result of a criminal proceeding.

  • The direct consequences of a conviction—the criminal sentence—may include imprisonment, probation, orders of restitution, and fines.
  • The collateral consequences of a conviction may include bars to employment and professional licensure, voting disenfranchisement, and the loss of public benefits, which affect many areas of a person’s life.

The lack of a central repository of collateral consequences in North Carolina, which were scattered throughout the NC general statutes, made it difficult—if not impossible—for anyone to master the entire body of collateral consequences law. This one-stop resource will benefit all those who need to understand, or are affected by, collateral consequences. C-CAT was created to help attorneys, policymakers, service providers, and affected individuals identify, assess, and compile the collateral consequences that may be triggered by a criminal conviction.

C-CAT’s includes collateral consequences that affect civic, domestic, and education rights; employment and professional licensure; firearm, housing, and property rights; and public benefits. By organizing collateral consequences by categories of activities, privileges, and rights, C-CAT makes this wide-ranging area of law more accessible to everyone. Now, you can search collateral consequences by:

  • Criminal characteristic (What if my client was convicted of a drug offense?)
  • Collateral consequence (Will my client lose her housing subsidy?)
  • Keyword (Will the conviction affect my client’s “financial aid for school”?)

C-CAT was made possible by a grant through the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation and a network of generous sponsors. Thanks to their generosity and commitment, C-CAT is offered at no charge to users through December 31, 2012. Visit to sign up for access to C-CAT.

To request additional information about C-CAT, you can email

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