Being convicted of a felony (i.e. a crime for which you can be sentenced to serve a year or more in prison) can carry consequences that reach far beyond the prison sentence that you will likely be sentenced to serve. Those facing felony criminal charges are often curious about how their rights and privileges will be impacted after rejoining society if they are ultimately convicted. Therefore, the aim of this article is to provide a general answer to this question.
The Right to Vote
In many states, convicted felons lose their right to vote until they complete their term of incarceration and parole. This means that a felon may not vote while serving time nor while out on parole. Additional helpful information about your state’s voter eligibility requirements can be found on your state’s secretary of state’s website.
The Right to Bear Arms
While the Second Amendment protects the right to bear arms, this right is not absolute and convicted felons automatically lose their right to bear arms for life in many states. However, under some limited situations (for example, if you are pardoned for your crime) an offender’s gun rights can be restored.
Having a criminal record can greatly impact your employment opportunities as many employers conduct background checks and are reluctant to hire convicted felons (at least for some positions). However, in the majority of states, lawmakers have passed a variety of laws aimed at assisting job seekers who have had run-ins with the law in the past find employment.
For example, in some states, employers are prohibited from asking job applicants about arrests that did not lead to a conviction, whether the applicant was referred to or participated in a diversion program, criminal convictions that have been sealed or expunged, and juvenile offenses.
Immigrants who have not naturalized (i.e. who have not become U.S. citizens) should be aware that being convicted of a crime in the U.S. can greatly impact your immigration status, it can even get you deported. Please note that this is the case even if you are in the United States legally – all non-citizen immigrants are generally eligible for deportation if convicted of a felony. Therefore, if you are a non-citizen and have been accused of committing a crime in the U.S. be sure to immediately consult with a local attorney to discuss your legal options.
Reach Out to a Law Office for Help Today
If you have been charged with a crime, contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer in San Francisco for help in defending against these charges.
Thanks to the Morales Law Firm for their insight into criminal law and your constitutional rights.