Collateral Consequences Of A Felony Conviction In Florida
Whenever a person is convicted of a criminal offense in Florida, the judge will issue a sentence for incarceration, fines, probation, or a combination of punishment. The starting off point is the criminal statute that classifies crimes as a felony or misdemeanor, with the former being the more serious offense. For a First or Second Degree Misdemeanor, your jail sentence may range from 60 days to a year; imprisonment for a felony starts a one year, but a conviction for the most serious offenses could mean life in prison.
However, many people do not realize the other implications of a criminal conviction. There are collateral consequences that can have a considerable impact on your life long after you serve your sentence. A Florida criminal defense lawyer can help with a strategy to reduce or avoid them, but you should be aware of some possible collateral consequences of a conviction.
Employment and Business Opportunities
Unless you go through the process to seal or expunge your records, a conviction will remain part of your criminal history for life. The matter will show up on a background check, so you may encounter challenges with employment. You may be legally disqualified from working in certain positions, or an employer may base hiring decisions on your past record. In addition, a criminal conviction may lead to a suspension of any professional or business licenses you may hold. Without the proper credentials, your employment options may be limited.
Loss Civic and Civil Rights
Due to recent changes in the law, a person convicted of a felony is allowed to vote in elections after completing ALL terms of the criminal sentence; the requirement includes payment of fees, fines, and restitution. However, you cannot run for or hold public office after being convicted of a felony.
A criminal conviction may also impact your right to bear arms under the Second Amendment. A person cannot possess a gun or ammo after being convicted of a felony OR a misdemeanor that qualifies as a crime of domestic violence.
Driver’s License Suspension
If you were convicted of drunk driving, your driving privileges may be suspended for a year or more. Plus, you could even lose your driver’s license when the conviction has nothing to do with a motor vehicle. In Florida, there is an automatic suspension for certain drug possession, manufacturing, and trafficking crimes – regardless of whether you used a vehicle in commission of the offense.
Implications for Education
Some colleges and universities will immediately expel a student convicted of a crime, and a criminal record could prevent you from being admitted.
A Florida Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help Obtain a Favorable Outcome
It may seem unfair that these collateral consequences will impact your life after you serve your sentence, but they are the unfortunate impact of a criminal conviction. To learn more about defenses and possible strategies for avoiding them, please contact Linkhorst & Hockin, P.A. We can schedule a consultation at our offices in Jupiter, FL. After reviewing your circumstances, our team can advise you on next steps.