The True Long-Term Consequences of a Felony Conviction

June 16, 2021 | General

A felony conviction in Virginia has serious, long-lasting consequences that may affect your life in many ways, and not just until you serve your prison or jail time or complete probation. A felony conviction may stay with you for the rest of your life.

The criminal defense attorneys at Upton Law, PLLC, are here to explain to you how a felony can affect you long term.

How Long Will a Felony Stay on my Record?

Generally, a felony conviction in Virginia may stay on your record forever. If you were arrested but not charged, or charged but not convicted, it might be possible to have your record expunged.

In legal terms, expunge means the criminal record and usually, the public record are sealed from public view, so it is treated as if it never happened.

In early 2021, Virginia lawmakers passed a new law that will allow individuals to seal convictions for certain nonviolent felony crimes. An attorney can help you understand your rights for sealing your records in Virginia.

Types of Felony Crimes

Virginia has six separate classes of felonies. These classes are used for sentencing purposes. Penalties can range from up to 12 months in jail and a fine of up to $2,500 for a class 6 felony to life in prison and a monetary fine of $100,000 for a class 1 felony.

A few examples of crimes that fall into Virginia’s six felony classifications include:

  • Class 1 – Capital murder
  • Class 2 – First and second-degree murder, armed burglary, possession or use of a “sawed-off” shotgun or rifle in the perpetration of a violent crime
  • Class 3 – Burning or destroying of structures with someone inside, mail fraud
  • Class 4 – Forgery, arson of an unoccupied building, shooting at a vehicle
  • Class 5 – Extortion, kidnapping, vehicular manslaughter
  • Class 6 – Animal cruelty (second or subsequent violations), credit card fraud, assault of a law enforcement officer or assault based on religion or ethnicity, identity theft resulting in financial loss of $1,000 or more, a third conviction of domestic assault, a third conviction of DUI in a 10-year period.

In addition, a conviction on various drug offenses, including possession of certain controlled substances, could result in a felony conviction in Virginia.

The True Consequences of a Felony Conviction

The consequences of a felony conviction in Virginia are serious and far-ranging. When you are convicted of any felony in Virginia, you will automatically lose specific civil rights. These rights include voting, serving on a jury, running for public office, becoming a notary public, and carrying a firearm.

Having a felony record can also impact many other areas of your life, such as your:

  • Employment options
  • Ability to get professional and employment licenses
  • Housing prospects or public housing options
  • Right to privacy
  • Access to credit loans
  • Ability to get higher education loans and grants
  • Federal assistance eligibility

If you are ever arrested for a felony crime in Virginia, remember these two critical things:

  • You have the right to remain silent. Make it completely clear to the arresting officer(s) you are invoking your right to remain silent and then stay silent. Do not talk without an attorney present, and
  • You have the right to have an attorney. It’s important to contact an attorney as soon as possible so they can begin protecting your rights.

Can You Ever Regain Your Rights?

Only the Governor of Virginia can restore a convicted felon’s civil rights, except for restoring your firearm rights. To “restore your right to ship, transport, possess or receive firearms,” you must apply to the circuit court with jurisdiction over where you live.

Samantha Upton Law, PLLC, can help you apply to the governor and the appropriate circuit court to regain all your civil rights.

Trust Samantha Upton at Upton Law, PLLC for Your Virginia Traffic Offense and Criminal Defense Needs

Criminal defense attorney Samantha Upton deliberately focuses her law practice exclusively on traffic offenses and criminal defense cases in jurisdictions all across the greater central Virginia area.

She has successfully represented thousands of clients on misdemeanor charges associated with traffic law violations and felony charges for criminal offenses.

Samantha Upton’s success is due to her longtime relationship with local law enforcement officers, prosecutors, judges, and her experience, skills, and legal knowledge. Samantha will provide you with an honest assessment of your options, explain how a felony conviction can affect your life, and provide a realistic solution for how to resolve your legal problem.

Contact Samantha Upton at Upton Law, PLLC today for a free consultation.