A felony is a crime, typically involving violence, that is seen as more severe than a misdemeanor. In North Carolina, felonies are divided into 10 different classifications, which don’t all have hard set rules for punishments. Sentences for felonies can range from death or life imprisonment to fines, probation, or community service. Beyond sentencing, the impact and consequences of a felony conviction in North Carolina can be devastating and long-lasting.
Having a felony conviction on your record is a life-altering event. It will have an impact on a person’s professional career, civil rights, federal assistance, and personal relationships.
Consequence: Harming Your Professional Career
Felons often face barriers when entering a professional discipline. If a person is already in a professional career and later becomes a convicted felon, he or she may lose their professional license or face other disciplines within their profession.
Employers will often ask potential job candidates about their criminal history, and many will automatically disqualify someone from possible employment if they have been convicted of a felony. Even though this is prohibited under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, a disqualified candidate may never know the true reason for not getting the job, and proving this type of discrimination often proves to be close to impossible since it requires getting inside the employer’s head.
A felony conviction will also often prevent someone from working in certain fields or workplaces, like law enforcement, hospitals or schools.
Consequence: Losing Your Rights
Upon becoming a convicted felon, the offender will lose many of his or her civil rights, like the right to vote, the right to hold public office, and the right to serve as a juror.
A convicted felon loses these rights until he or she has gone through the expungement or restoration process to get their rights restored, which can be a lengthy process and usually involves a waiting period after the felony conviction before the rights can be restored.
In North Carolina, it is a criminal offense for a convicted felon to use or possess a firearm. If that person owned a firearm at the time of the conviction, then he or she will need to transfer that firearm to someone who is legally authorized to own one. A felon also cannot live with someone who is legally authorized to possess a firearm if the firearm can be accessed by the felon. If someone possesses a license to carry a concealed weapon and subsequently becomes convicted of a felony, he or she will lose their carry permit.
Consequence: Losing Your Federal Assistance
A felony conviction may also mean disqualification from federal assistance such as student loans, food stamps, Medicaid, etc. Often, convicted felons would benefit from this assistance the most, especially if they were incarcerated and are having to reacclimate to life outside of prison, but unfortunately, the felony conviction may keep them from obtaining the assistance when they need it the most.
Consequence: Negatively Affecting Your Personal Life
Felony convictions can also have long-lasting effects on a person’s personal life and interpersonal relationships. Spouses and family members of convicted felons may feel betrayed and misled by the actions that led to the conviction or because the convicted person must spend time away from them behind bars. Felony convictions tend to affect all aspects of a person’s life for a long time after the person has been sentenced by a court of law.
The Cost of a Felony Conviction in North Carolina
The actual sentencing for a felony may include but is not limited to the following:
- Consent to random searches
- Consent to random drug tests
- Costs of court
- Supervision Fees
- Community service
- Drug and/or alcohol assessment and treatment
- Loss of driver’s license
If you or someone you know is facing felony charges, you need to know your rights as well as the consequences so that you can have the best representation possible. Contact SeiferFlatow today to learn how our criminal defense team is here to help you.
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