There are many repercussions associated with being accused and convicted of committing a felony, whether it is a white-collar crime or a sexual offense. Many of them are more obvious than others — loss of employment chances with the government, loss of child custody, registering in a nationwide data base (depending on the type of crime) and even restriction of living facilities (depending on the type of crime one is convicted). One thing that many Maryland residents may not be aware of is that until recently, Maryland residents with past felony convictions could not vote in the election.
With election season upon us, and everyone getting into the excitement of voting for their preferred candidate, it seemed unfair that someone with a felony conviction could not vote their opinion, as if their opinion does not matter now that they have been through the criminal justice system. But, a new state law took effect earlier this year, whereby people with felony convictions can register to vote right after they are released from prison. Previously, they could only vote after they had completed parole or probation.
The new law would make 20,000 people in Baltimore alone and 40,000 across the state eligible to vote. After having paid their debt to society, this would help them integrate back into society and become contributing members of their community.
Felony charges should not be taken lightly. Their affects reverberate for many years and over many aspects, and not only because of the associated penalties.
Though it possible to challenge a conviction on an appeal, it is better to start fighting the charges from the very beginning to ensure that the accused’s rights are protected. In fact, it may be beneficial to the accused to consult an attorney even before speaking to the officials for the first time.
Source: WBAL TV, “Ex-felons prepare to vote thanks to new Maryland law,” George Lettis, April 14, 2016