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Felony punishment doesn’t stop after the completion of a jail sentence, parole, or even probation. After a release from jail, many convicted felons are ecstatic to return to their previous lives only to be forced into learning how to navigate life post-conviction. Felons may lose many rights once they are sentenced, and some of the biggest challenges they’ll face won’t show up until after prison.
Rights That Get Taken Away When You Become a Felon
Not all of the rights that felons lose will have a big impact on their day-to-day lives, but some will hinder their ability to successfully reintegrate into society. We want convicted felons to have the opportunity to overcome their criminal pasts and become productive members of the community, yet the legal system hinders their rehabilitation journey by taking away rights.
Many states prohibit convicted felons from participating in elections. In California, previous convictions will not prevent a felon from voting in an election. However, those currently serving time in a state or federal prison for a felony are unable to vote. Once their term has been served entirely, their right to vote will be restored.
Although convicted felons are able to possess a U.S. passport, their ability to travel across country lines is severely encumbered. Many countries require travelers to obtain a visa to enter. Unfortunately, felons that apply for these visas are often denied. Some countries may allow entry for convicted felons, but others will deny their access depending on the offense.
The second amendment grants all United States citizens the right to bear arms, but a felony conviction could remove or restrict that right. In California, your right to own a gun disappears entirely once you are convicted of a felony—stripping your second amendment rights away for life.
Employment and Housing
Though rights to employment and housing are not officially taken away with the conviction of a felony, at times it may feel like they may as well be. Most employers, apartment complexes, and landlords require the completion of a background check before hiring or approval. If a felony conviction appears on your background check, there is a good chance you will be denied the job, apartment, or home.
With how difficult it is to secure a job or housing, a felon may need to rely on assistance programs in order to get back on their feet. However, in California, many state and federal programs like food stamps, subsidized housing, and unemployment commonly deny felons access to them, leaving felons struggling to make ends meet.
As a parent, the hardest thing to lose would be your child. Not only are you unable to raise a child when you’re in prison, leaving the court to grant custody to another party, but once you are released you could be deemed unfit to take care of a child. The courts may see you as a poor influence or a threat, especially if you were convicted of a violent offense.
Fight a Felony Charge with a Skilled San Diego Criminal Defense Attorney
After over 17 years of experience in criminal defense law, Attorney Dod knows that a felony charge has the ability to uproot your whole life. If you are facing felony charges in San Diego, you need an aggressive and determined criminal defense attorney on your side. At Dod Law, our favorite words are “not guilty”. Call (619) 814-5110 or fill out an online contact form to schedule a free review of your case today!