OKLAHOMA CITY, Oklahoma. The consequences of criminal conviction are immense. Individuals may face time in jail, fines, and the loss of important freedoms. These losses alone are sufficient to encourage individuals to seek the assistance of a criminal defense attorney like the lawyers at The Henson Law Firm, P.L.L.C. The Marshall Project recently reported on the collateral consequences of criminal conviction in the U.S. According to the report, even after individuals are released from jail, they may have to navigate a web of laws that tell them where they can live, where they can work, and even limit their ability to vote. The laws can be confusing, because each state has its own laws and regulations for how it handles former felons and individuals convicted of misdemeanors. In fact, the American Bar Association found that there were 44,500 different laws across the country regarding how former convicts are treated.
While some states are pushing to give former convicts access to essential services, like public housing and food stamps, some states continue to deny former convicts and their families these essential forms of public aid.
In Oklahoma for instance, the American Bar Association noted hundreds of laws that could impact the lives of convicted criminals. For example, in Oklahoma, individuals risk losing their license or ability to perform certain jobs connected to the crime committed. For instance, felons may be not permitted to serve as fundraisers. Individuals may be barred from serving in certain public positions, like firefighting, if they are found guilty of a felony. Furthermore, under federal law, individuals with felony level drug offenses are barred from receiving federal aid. Certain states have chosen to opt out of the ban. Yet, in some states, individuals may have trouble just getting a job due to boxes on applications that require individuals to tell employers that they have been found guilty of a felony. Some states have moved to “ban the box,” but banning the box doesn’t stop employers from performing background checks. It just restricts employers from asking the question on an initial application. State universities may also ask applicants whether they have been found guilty of a felony, also possibly affecting these individuals’ acceptance to universities.
At the end of the day, individuals need to understand the risks and consequences of taking a plea deal. In some cases, taking a plea deal can impact your life for years to come. Having a criminal defense attorney on your side can make an immense impact on your case. For instance, your lawyer can review the evidence against you, the circumstances of your arrest, and determine whether the state has a valid and legal case against you in the first place. Unfortunately, many people plead guilty to crimes when the state doesn’t have a valid or even a strong case. Visit The Henson Law Firm, P.L.L.C. at http://myoklahomadefenselawyer.com to learn more about your rights.