There are approximately 7 million people serving time in United States prisons and at least a couple of million that have already been released.
A released felon faces certain consequences called collateral consequences. There is nothing more a felon wants than to erase their past mistakes.
If you are wondering how to drop the felony charges from your record then here are a few things you should know. The process differs from state to state and this also depends on the kind of felony.
Can You Erase A Felony From Your Record?
Serious crimes such as murder, armed assault, sexual crime, robbery, or arsons cannot be expunged. Even after a felon serves time, the Judiciary system keeps tabs on such people so they don’t repeat their crimes.
Even if a felon has served a lengthy prison sentence, a serious felony will stay on the record forever. There is a huge difference between felony conviction, felony charges, or felony arrests. All these stay on your record for a stipulated time.
Depending on the felony, the record is expunged or removed from public record. You should submit a petition in the court for this to happen. Federal, state, local, or government level access public records. Just because a record is public, not everyone has access to it.
Law enforcement personnel, banks, employers, or landlords can view public records. For anyone falling outside this group of people, the felon’s consent is needed.
When you are charged with a felony, certain privileges are restricted. The most vital privilege a felon loses is the right to vote. A felon also cannot run for public office or hold a position there. These rights are however restored after a stipulated time. This is contingent on the nature of the crime.
The right to vote is reinstated once the felon has served incarceration, paid all fines, or completed their parole. Felons are also expected to be of service to the Jury and this is usually for seven years after conviction.
A felon cannot own a firearm or use a gun after a conviction. If he or she already owns a firearm or a license, it is revoked.
Life After Conviction
Here are a few things you need to know regarding life after conviction.
Employers may question potential employees about any crime convictions. This however is against the federal anti-discrimination law and it is in the hands of the felon whether they want to divulge such information or not. Jobs that involve teaching or working with children require a security clearance.
This is something felons fail to clear as the authorities are not comfortable having children around convicts.
It is difficult for a felon to find a house to rent out since landlords are skeptical about the risk of having a convict living on the premises.
For drug-related offense, felons lose any scholarship or financial aid for their further studies.
4 Parental Rights
A felon can lose parental rights and, in some cases, even visitation rights. If the child is in a different country, the felon cannot visit the child. This is because of visa complications.
A felon may find it difficult to purchase their home or vehicle because their loan gets rejected by most banks or other Financial Institutions.
Handling A Permanent Felony Record
One of the major challenges for a released felon is finding a job. Most employers do not consider hiring a felon and this could get frustrating as the wait time would be longer than anticipated. In such scenarios, the smart thing would be to check out organizations that are open to hiring felons. Here are a few things you need to do to bag a good job:
- Make a list of organizations that hire felons
- Assure the employer that you are reliable
- Be honest and upfront at the time of your interview
- Lay emphasis on your skillset and experience, if any
While it is normal to consider your past scary, honesty works in your favor. Lying will get you nowhere since most organizations conduct a criminal background check.
Getting Yourself On The Right Path
Just because you had a brush with the law doesn’t mean it should affect your future. If you want to get a good job and improve the quality of your life then you need to work towards it. Here are a few things you can do:
- Educate yourself
- Apply for a moral character certificate
- Speak to an attorney to expunge your charges
Having a felony charge on your record does affect your reputation. It is a stigma and is something you will have to deal with. When dealt with in the right way, you will be on track to lead a normal and successful life.
Coping With A Felony Record
After your conviction, all you want to do is leave the past behind and move on. This will however take a while and it is important to know how friends and family can help.
1 Support System
Once you are back from prison, make sure you gather your family members, friends, and loved ones. You can be open with them about the support they can provide. Whether it is speaking to potential employers, getting you a moral character certificate, or helping you get back on your feet by offering a job, ask them to help in any way they can.
When you were serving your sentence, your family and friends also received backlash from society. It is important to apologize to them and let them know that such instances will not happen again.
Meet your attorney and speak about expunging your record. While getting a felony charge off your record is important, it is not the end of the world if this does not happen. There are offices out there that are ready to employ felons and give them a second chance at life.
Not only do these small chances matter, but they also make a huge difference to your loved ones. Take your chance today and begin the first chapter of your new beginning.