While most people who are charged with a crime focus primarily on the jail time they are facing, the truth is that a criminal conviction impacts a person’s life in numerous other ways.
Every conviction comes with collateral damage that can make life much harder long after a prisoner is released from jail.
According to the National Employment Law Project, the unemployment rate for former prisoners is 27%, six times the national unemployment rate. Employers consistently seem reluctant to hire even non-violent offenders.
There is a little good news; if a position pays $75,000 or less per year, criminal arrests and convictions over seven years old cannot be included in a consumer report. Still, seven years is a long time to do without gainful employment.
Landlords often use criminal background checks to screen tenants, which means it’s very difficult to find housing after you finish prison. Landlords may legally deny housing if their recent criminal record makes them dangerous and a risk to other tenants or neighbors.
There is a fine line between legal denial and discrimination, but it can be difficult to fight those battles.
Plus, it is more difficult for homeless Texans to access tax-subsidized housing units.
Loss of Voting Rights
Convicted felons lose the right to vote in Texas.
Your voting rights should be restored as soon as you’ve “fully discharged” your sentence. But even Texas admits that it’s “not always clear” when a sentence has been fully completed.
In general, the sentence is completed when you’ve finished your term of incarceration, parole, supervision, or probation period or you have been pardoned. Unfortunately, many Texans remain under supervision for years after a felony conviction.
Loss of Civic Rights
Once convicted of a felony, you may not serve on a jury, hold public office, or serve in certain professions.
These rights are never restored.
Loss of Gun Rights
If you’re convicted of a felony, you can no longer legally carry a firearm.
This is due to federal law; state law would let you get your gun rights back after 5 years, but federal law won’t let you possess, carry, or legally purchase a firearm at all.
There is no pathway for a convicted felon to restore these rights.
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As you can see, you cannot afford to face a potential felony conviction without securing help from a qualified criminal defense attorney.
We strive to make our services affordable, and most of our clients find our service to be money well spent.
Protect your future. Contact our offices to get help today.
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