A felony is the most serious kind of criminal offense in Texas. Compared to misdemeanors, felonies are often particularly egregious violations of the law that require much steeper punishments.
In terms of sentencing, a misdemeanor in Texas is a crime for which a convicted individual can expect to spend up to a year in jail. The least severe type of felony in Texas – a state jail felony – can be punished with 180 days to two years in jail, but those convicted are still considered felons. From here, felonies can in Texas can be punished by at least two years to several years or decades in prison, life in prison, as well as death.
4 Rights You Can Lose If You Are a Convicted Felon
In addition to these severe punishments, there are other consequences of being a convicted felon in Texas. You’ve probably heard about it before, but those who are convicted of felonies in this state can lose a few important civil rights that everyone else might take for granted. Let’s examine these rights in greater detail.
1. The Right to Vote
When you are convicted of a felony in Texas, you lose the right to vote. By state law, it is illegal for a convicted felon to vote while they are completing their sentence. This means that for as long as you are incarcerated, on parole, or on probation, you will not be able to participate in any state or federal election.
Fortunately, Texas restores the right to vote once a felon’s sentence is completely carried out. That said, they must take action to register to vote again because they were since removed from the voter rolls as a result of their conviction. This is good news for anyone who values participating in democracy and found themselves in trouble with the law.
2. The Right to Own a Firearm
If you value your right to bear arms, you don’t want to be convicted of a felony. Texas will initially remove your right to own a gun, but it will be partially restored five years after your conviction. After that time, you can only have a gun in your home for protection or on your land for hunting.
That’s the good news – the bad news is that federal law supersedes state law, and federal law prohibits convicted felons from owning firearms at all. This means that you might not even find it possible to legally purchase a gun, but if you do, you could be arrested and charged by federal law enforcement, even if you aren’t breaking any laws in Texas.
3. The Right to Hold Public Office
For a lot of people, their experiences in prison can shape them into new people who are motivated to improve their communities. While there is nothing stopping a convicted felon from becoming an activist for a cause he or she is passionate about, they will never be able to create or direct policy in a public office.
Convicted felons lose the right to seek or be appointed to public office of any kind. This means they are barred from ever representing their communities at the local, county, state, and federal levels. The only way to regain the right to hold public office is to receive a full pardon.
4. The Right to Serve on a Jury
For many people, serving on a jury and doing their civic duty is something to be proud of. If you are convicted of a felony, however, you will lose the right to serve on a jury.
Are You Facing Felony Charges?
If you were arrested and charged with a felony, there is a lot more than your freedom at stake. You could lose several important civil rights that can make you feel like a second-class citizen among others in your community. That’s why you should never leave your legal defense to chance or in the hands of an overworked public defender.
At Rodriguez & Gimbert, P.L.L.C., we provide our clients with the focused legal representation they need. While no attorney can guarantee results, a personalized approach to your defense can increase your chances of successfully mitigating or avoiding responsibility for charges against you.