When a person is convicted of a felony in Virginia, they can suffer long-term consequences in addition to whatever legal penalties the court imposes. If you have a felony conviction on your criminal record, you could have difficulty finding housing, securing employment, obtaining a loan, or getting educational assistance for college even after you have served your sentence.
If you’re convicted of a felony, you will lose some civil rights: the right to serve on a jury, the right to run for office, and the right to be a notary public. Worse still, you could lose two constitutionally protected rights, regardless of whether you have paid your debt to society. Specifically, you could lose the right to bear arms and the right to vote.
At Whitestone Young, PC, our Virginia criminal defense lawyers understand the significance of these rights. We are committed to helping you preserve those rights by fighting the charges against you. We will build a strong defense on your behalf with the goal of obtaining an acquittal, a dismissal of your case, or at the very least, a reduction of the charges laid against you. Contact us today for a free, no-risk consultation to review your legal options.
Felony Convictions and Your Rights
The right to vote is protected by the 15th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Unfortunately, these protections are not absolute. If you have been convicted of a felony in Virginia, you could lose the right to vote for the rest of your life.
If you have been charged with a felony offense, it is critical to hire a criminal defense lawyer to help you fight the charges. However, even if you have been stripped of your voting rights due to a felony conviction, an attorney could help you restore your rights.
The right to bear firearms is protected by the Second Amendment. You can lose the right to bear arms if you are convicted of a felony in Virginia or if you are convicted on a misdemeanor domestic violence charge. The penalties for violating a ban on gun possession are harsh and include one to five years in jail plus a maximum fine of $2,500.
Like your voting rights, it is technically possible to have your Second Amendment rights restored, but it can be challenging, which is why it’s so important to avoid a felony conviction in the first place.
Common Felony Charges in Virginia
Some common types of felony offenses that can result in losing the right to vote or the right to possess a firearm include:
• Sex crimes
• Crimes involving a firearm
• Involuntary manslaughter with a vehicle while under the influence
• Drug-related offenses
• Violent offenses
• Trespassing and destruction of property offenses
In addition to offenses that are charged as felonies, some misdemeanors can also be upgraded to felony charges if the circumstances call for it or if you are a repeat offender.
How Can I Get My Rights Restored After a Felony?
There are ways to get your voting rights restored after being convicted of a felony, but it is a difficult process. You must be out of jail, no longer on probation or parole, have no active warrants out for your arrest, not be on a pretrial hold, and not be flagged by police for any reason. Even if you fulfill all those requirements, it is still up to the Governor to decide whether to restore your rights. An attorney can help you navigate the restoration process.
The process for restoring your right to possess a firearm is different and more challenging. You will need to file a petition with the appropriate court, after which a Commonwealth’s Attorney will review your case. If you wish, you can request a hearing to argue your case before the court. It is critical to hire a lawyer to represent you during this process.
Contact a Lawyer
If you have been charged with a felony offense in Virginia, contact the criminal defense attorneys at Whitestone Young, PC, right away. Not only do we have the resources to defend your rights and advocate for your interests in court, but we will also provide you with the legal support that you need in this challenging time and guide you through every stage of the legal process.
Our attorneys also help those who have been convicted and served their sentences. We understand that having the right to vote for your representatives is important to you, as is owning a firearm in some cases. We will do everything we can to help you restore your constitutional rights.
Call us today at 703-591-0200 to schedule a case review with one of our Fairfax criminal defense lawyers.