If you face criminal charges, you must understand the full scope of a conviction. Financial penalties or jail time will be devastating enough, yet some of the consequences will last much longer.
A conviction will impinge on several civil rights, aside from your right to walk around in freedom. Here are three to be aware of:
The right to vote
All citizens gain this once they reach the age of majority. However, North Carolina bans people convicted of a felony from voting while in prison, on probation or on parole. A new ruling found that people should regain their voting rights once they leave prison. Whether it is upheld depends on if anyone appeals. Even so, you could well miss out on some important elections.
The right to see your kids
As a parent, you expect to see your children, and they expect to see you. If a judge puts you behind bars, you will hardly see them at all until you are out. It could also harm your chances of getting a share of custody or visitation rights when you are out. Or, it could help your co-parent convince a court to permit them to move far away with your kids.
The right to work
Some inmates get to work, but you are hardly going to further your career when locked away from the outside world. However promising your pre-conviction career was, you may struggle to find employment after. Many employers will not even look at your application when your criminal record shows in a background check.
The best way to protect your rights is to avoid a conviction in the first place. If you face criminal charges, seek urgent legal help to assess your defense options.