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Maryland residents can lose privileges in a felony conviction


Most Maryland residents accused of a felony crime may be aware of the expensive fines and prison time which may accompany conviction. Although these penalties are without doubt very serious, an accused can also be deprived of certain privileges, regardless of the cause of the felony charge, such as a white collar crime, burglary, rape or any other criminal act.

In Maryland, a felony conviction can result in suspension of a person's right to vote, including the right of a resident to register to vote. The prohibition is lifted when the person's prison sentence ends. Another privilege suspended is a resident's obligation to serve on a jury. Jury service is suspended regardless of whether the crime is a misdemeanor or felony. A felony charge also means that a person can no longer own or seek a license to own a regulated firearm such as a handgun, assault rifle or similar weapon.

A felony conviction can negatively affect employment opportunities of the convicted. This negative influence is levies a social stigma against employing person with a criminal record. In addition, Maryland laws prohibit convicted felons from working in respite care or as personal care providers. People who are licensed professionals, such as doctors or CPAs, may also have their licenses suspended or revoked due to the criminal charges or conviction. Finally, a person's federal employment benefits may be withheld as well.

Despite the harsh penalties and suspension of certain privileges, the most damaging part of a felony conviction is the ugly blemish on the reputation of a Maryland resident. A resident's relationship with family and friends can also be strained. An accused should have a sound criminal defense in order to assert innocence and avoid conviction. An accused, with the help of an experienced legal advocate, may also negotiate a plea deal to minimize the charges and resulting penalties.

Source: MD.us, "Collateral Consequences of a Criminal Conviction," accessed on Jan. 14, 2015

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