Felony ConvictionA felony conviction can result in prison, and a second felony conviction can result in a long mandatory sentence. Also, a felony conviction leads to many severe consequences other than prison. It is a permanent mark against a citizen, relegating him to second-class status for the rest of his life. The Human Rights Watch identified over 300 rights, including the right to many important government services and the right to vote, that a felon loses the moment he pleads guilty or loses a trial. It forever changes a person’s ability to find work or to attend school. Because of the Internet, a felony conviction can haunt a person even if he applies to a job with no background checks.
Even a first conviction for a low-level offense, such as Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance 5, may cause a person to lose employment, union membership, operator licenses, trade licenses, welfare benefits, public housing, rent assistance, general leases with private landlords, voting privileges, student loans, other loans and accounts, firearm privileges, child custody, and the list goes on.
In many cases, new laws allow the DMV to suspend a person’s license for any drug or alcohol related conviction, even if the conviction has nothing to do with driving a car!
Most people are unaware at the time of a guilty plea of the number of rights that they will forever give up. It is important to consider the big picture before determining whether a felony conviction is worth the lifelong consequences.
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