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It goes without saying that being accused of a federal crime is a serious accusation. If convicted, offenders can face exorbitant fines and be imprisoned for the majority of their lives. However, a felony conviction can impact a person’s life long after they’ve left prison. Below, we discuss the rights that are forfeited when a felony conviction is handed down. These aren’t simple conveniences being taken away; they are civil liberties that define the American experience. If you or a loved one has been accused of a federal crime, it is imperative that you contact a criminal defense lawyer in Tampa who can fight to preserve your rights.
In the State of Florida, those convicted of a felony lose their right to vote while they are incarcerated. In years past, convicted felons lost the right to vote for life. However, on Jan. 8, 2019, Florida citizens voted in favor of Amendment 4, allowing convicted felons who were not convicted of murder or felony sex charges to vote once they’ve completed their prison sentences. But hopeful voters continue to face roadblocks as lawmakers passed S.B. 7066 preventing felons from voting until they pay off all court fees and fines before their sentences are completed.
Convicted felons often face massive fines that can halt any attempt to reintegrate into society. Upon leaving prison, most felons are without work or the means to support themselves. What’s worse is that they are automatically barred from social welfare programs, such as federal grants, public housing, and food stamps. While many states allow former felons with drug convictions to receive food stamps, Florida is one of only a handful that don’t — a decision that has been shown to increase recidivism among drug traffickers.
As stated on the website for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, “The Gun Control Act (GCA), codified at 18 U.S.C. § 922(g), makes it unlawful for certain categories of persons to ship, transport, receive, or possess firearms or ammunition.” Included in the lengthy list provided are those “convicted in any court of a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year.” Possession of a firearm by a former felon is a felony itself, punishable by a minimum-mandatory prison sentence of three years. While former felons can have their rights restored by the Office of Executive Clemency, it’s a process that involves numerous hoops to jump through and can take years to finalize. To learn more about this process and having a felony conviction expunged or removed from your record, consult a criminal defense lawyer in Tampa from the Rickman Law Firm.
Removal of the above rights is just one consequence of a felony conviction. Despite time served, a person can still be barred from financial aid, traveling abroad, and employment opportunities. This is simply an extended punishment that makes life unbearable for many convicted felons in the State of Florida. If you have been accused of a felony, don’t jeopardize your rights through inaction. Contact the federal criminal defense law attorneys in Tampa from The Rickman Law Firm.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.