There are varying degrees of felony convictions in Maryland, and prison time duration depends on the severity of the crime. If you have been convicted for a subsequent time, the state imposes mandatory minimum sentences – a second conviction requires 10 years, a third violent crime with 25 years and a fourth time with life without parole possibility.
Once done serving time, losing certain rights and privileges is a reality you must confront as you try to rebuild your life. You may soon realize that the stigma of incarceration may position you toward rediscovering yourself.
Facing life differently beyond the sentence
Maryland felony charges range from major theft crimes, like robbery, to sex crimes, such as sexual assault. Having such criminal charges on your record impacts multiple facets of your life.
Aside from jail and fines, Maryland criminal conviction carries corresponding collateral consequences. These are like invisible penalties that strip you of rights and access as you reenter society after your time behind bars.
- Employment: You may experience hardship due to job loss or a new job search. Potential employers run background checks for due diligence. Instead of dealing with the setbacks of having an ex-convict employee among their ranks, they may err on the side of caution and hire someone else. Additionally, you may also find it challenging to acquire the professional licenses necessary to perform your job.
- Housing: Landlords may be reluctant to take you in due to your criminal record and possible financial incapacity. Some former inmates find themselves in homeless shelters.
- Immigration: You will be under scrutiny for your immigration-related applications or concerns. In the worst cases, deportation is possible.
- Loss of civil rights: This disadvantage includes losing your right to vote, owning a firearm and performing jury duty.
The collateral consequences’ goal is to discourage recidivism or the tendency of offenders to reoffend. Although it’s quite ironic that your newfound freedom limits your choices and restricts your relationships, the transition to your new life will be easier if you accept that things won’t be the same.
A life forever changed
As damaging as a felony conviction may seem, you must know that within you lies the power to march forward. It is up to you to find the motivation to pursue a meaningful life through well-informed decisions, and that begins with choosing a robust legal representation.