A felony conviction can have many potential effects on your life, ranging from the cost of defense to the potential loss of your freedom. The first, most obvious consequence is the cost of defending against your charges. Those costs can snowball with a conviction to include things such as criminal fines, loss of employment, difficulty finding new employment after a felony conviction, restitution, and other costs.
The costly punishments a court can impose for a felony conviction include:
Probation: Probation does not involve going to jail or prison, but people on probation have to comply with specific limitations and orders imposed by the court, such as meeting with a probation officer on a regular basis, finding a job or maintaining employment, paying all court fees and costs on time, and participating in alcohol or drug rehabilitation programs. Fees to pay for the probation or for any drug or alcohol programs are common. Failing to meet terms of probation can result in being sent to jail.
Restitution: Restitution is common in criminal cases involving property damage or theft, or any other instances where the victims lose money. Courts can order defendants to pay back victims for any money they might have lost as a result of the criminal activity. Restitution is in addition to any fines or court costs.
House Arrest: A person sentenced to house arrest must remain at home for a specified period of time. Some trips may be allowed, such as for medical appointments or to visit probation officers, but other travel is restricted. House arrest sentences may involve additional costs and fees, such as the payment of monitoring devices or services.
Non-Financial Impacts of a Felony Conviction
The financial impact of having to serve prison time is obvious, and if you are the sole earner in your family, potentially catastrophic. But the impacts can spread to many other aspects of your life. According to the Pennsylvania ACLU, convicted felons do not lose the right to vote in Pennsylvania except while they are in prison for their felony offense. However, a felony conviction can affect many other rights, such as:
- Restricted rights to hold public office (this is the case in 25 states)
- Difficulty obtaining security clearances for certain professions (teaching, working with children, security, etc.)
- Barriers to obtaining a passport or a visa for entry into certain countries
- Availability for police lineups as potential suspects
- Barriers to legally obtaining firearms
- Loss of federal financial aid money for college in drug related convictions
- Potential removal of parental rights (including custody and visitation rights)
Many of these impacts will, once again, have an effect on your ability to find employment. If convicted of a felony, you might lose the professional license or permit required for your previous job. You can try to regain the license, but the process can be costly and time–consuming. Furthermore, felony convictions will be serious obstacles to work in certain positions, such as police officer, firefighter, government employee, teacher, or any truck driving position requiring a commercial driver’s license (CDL).
If You Face Felony Charges, Call the Zeiger Firm Today to Schedule a Free Consultation with a Philadelphia Criminal Defense Attorney
If you are facing felony charges, competent legal representation is the best way avoid or mitigate the impacts of a felony conviction. You need experienced attorneys to guide you through the legal process. The team at the Zeiger Firm can offer advice and assistance to people facing criminal charges in the Philadelphia area. We have the knowledge and skill to guide you through the judicial process. You can reach the Zeiger Firm at (215) 546-0340 or via our online contact form.