These Are The Rights Convicted Felons Lose In California
Many defendants who have been charged with a felony don’t realize that, if they are convicted, they lose many of their rights as a citizen of the United States. It’s understandable that most defendants focus on possible prison time, but in many cases the biggest challenges of being convicted come after prison time has been served.
Loss Of Rights
While each state may have slightly different penalties, there are some common rights that are almost always taken away. In California, convicted felons will lose the following rights:
- Voting rights
- Ability to travel abroad
- Gun ownership
- Jury service
- Employment in certain fields
- Public assistance and housing
- Parental rights
While losing some of these rights may not have a big impact on a person’s day-to-day life (like jury service or voting rights) others will present a considerable problem and possibly prevent them from reintegrating into society successfully.
California prohibits convicted felons from voting if they are currently in state or federal prison, or if they’re currently on parole. Once parole has been completed, the right to vote is restored, but a person must re-register to vote.
While felons are legally allowed to hold and use US passports, there are certain travel restrictions that may be levied by other countries. An entry visa is a privilege, not a right, and a country may choose to deny admission to a convicted felon.
In California, being convicted of a felony of any kind (and in any state) results in a complete and total lifetime ban from owning any and all firearms.
Additionally, because California requires background checks to purchase firearms from an authorized dealer, it’s effectively impossible to legally purchase a firearm after a conviction.
When making jury selections, people with felonies may not be permitted to serve at all, or may be prohibited from serving as a juror for a certain number of years subsequent to their conviction.
In California, a felony conviction means a lifetime ban from jury duty. This penalty cannot be restored and is non-negotiable.
In California, employers have the right to run background checks and choose not to hire a candidate based on their felony conviction.
Additionally, there are certain professions that ban felons from ever obtaining employment in the field, including teachers, law enforcement agencies, the military, child care agencies, and other professions that require a license.
If a felon possessed a license or held employment in one of these professions before their conviction, they will be terminated.
Public Assistance And Housing
Being convicted of a felony in California may also limit or deny an individual’s ability to apply for and receive public assistance and housing.
Food stamps and subsidised housing programs are provided by programs like CalWORKs but are operated through local county welfare departments.
Maintaining custody of a child after a felony conviction can be a difficult battle. If the other parent is able to care for and provide for the child, it’s likely they will be given sole custody.
If a single parent is convicted and a child has to enter foster care, it’s possible that resuming custody will be challenged or prevented.
Working With An Attorney
If you are concerned about losing your rights, or have already lost them because of a felony conviction and want to know what options are available, you should contact an experienced criminal law attorney who can evaluate your situation and provide advice.
There are a few options available, including felony reductions, expungements, and certificates of rehabilitation that can restore some of your rights. Please contact us today to learn more or request a free consultation.
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