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Collateral Consequences of a Felony Conviction?

Often when people are charged with a crime, it's the thought of a possible jail or prison sentence that scares people the most. Rightly so. But the effects of a felony conviction are far more reaching. Often times, once incarceration is over, the problems with a felony conviction are only just beginning. Here are things to consider when facing a felony conviction.


IMMIGRATION ISSUES


What may be one of the most overlooked, yet most important consequences for many Arizonans facing felony charges are the immigration consequences. Many felony offenses will make one eligible for removal a.k.a. deportation, and even accepting a plea agreement can trigger removal proceedings.


Crimes that are "aggravated", crimes of "moral turpitude" (fraud, etc.), drugs, firearms, dangerous crimes against children, or domestic violence involving children can result in deportation. It's vitally important that your attorney advise you of the potential consequences of a felony conviction, if you're a lawful permanent resident, or have a visa allowing you to stay in the United States. Although Paradise Valley Law doesn't practice Immigration law, we understand the ins and outs, and can make sure you do too.


2nd AMENDMENT ISSUES and VOTING RIGHTS


This is often the consequence most people are worried about when it comes to felony convictions. As a felon you'll be prohibited from possessing a firearm. You won't pass a background check to obtain one. In fact, until you've fulfilled your obligations and asked to have your rights restored by the court, if you have guns, you'll need to turn them over.


If your case is a domestic violence case (often a misdemeanor), you'll still likely be unable to pass a federal background check, as anyone with a domestic violence charge is not going to be able to legally purchase a gun. If you find yourself in a situation where you want your guns back, our attorneys can help restore your rights, and coming soon, be able to have your convictions sealed entirely.


Also, voting rights are suspended until you ask the court to restore those rights.


HOUSING


Felons face many issues when it comes to finding housing. Criminal backgrounds can often impact where a person can rent. Government subsidized housing, often referred to as "Section 8", will not be available to felons.


Renting issues aren't the only housing hurdles one may face with a felony conviction. Many Home Owners' Associations are now instituting polices that felons are prohibited from living in their communities. These policies can also impact family or friends that allow felons to reside within these communities.


EMPLOYMENT


It's no secret that a felony conviction will impact employment opportunities.However, there's one aspect of employment that many overlook . . . professional licenses. If the job you want, or the job you have, requires a professional license (real estate, nursing, attorney, etc.) a felony conviction will likely end in your licensing bureau pulling that license.



GOVERNMENT AID


One final overlooked consequence of a felony conviction is the impact one can have on your ability to receive government assistance. Government assistance can range from the aforementioned "Section 8" to student aid or food stamps.


Given the many challenges of a felony conviction, it's vitally important that you understand the consequences that go beyond a jail, prison, or probation term. Let the attorneys at Paradise Valley Law guide you through the process.

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