Consequences of Having a Criminal Record in Arizona
An estimate made by the United States Department of Justice states there are approximately 70 to 100 million adults in the United States that have criminal records, including the conviction of a felony, a misdemeanor, or arrest without a conviction. These criminal records can create what is referred to as collateral consequences, no matter how long ago the incident occurred. These collateral consequences make it hard for those adults to return to society due to the barriers caused.
What Are Collateral Consequences?
Collateral consequences are various restrictions, disqualifications, or sanctions placed on a person with a criminal history. These collateral consequences can place a barrier on voting, civic participation, employment, education, public benefits, professional licensing, and housing. These collateral consequences are attached to felony and misdemeanor convictions, lasting a specific period of time up to a lifetime.
Considered an invisible punishment for those who are no longer in the jail system, these consequences often restrict the freedoms and opportunities available due to criminal history. The reason collateral consequences are considered invisible punishment is because they operate outside the framework of traditional sentencing. The rights that are taken due to criminal convictions tend to revolve around the 13th, 14th, 15th, and 19th amendments of the constitution.
The 13th amendment of the United States Constitution is the amendment that abolished slavery and involuntary servitude unless in punishment for a crime committed. Once free, those with criminal records feel as though these invisible punishments keep them imprisoned long after their sentence has been served.
The 14th amendment of the United States Constitution states that the State should not deprive citizens of the United States of life, liberty, or property without due process of the law. After the due process has been completed and the sentence served, collateral consequences are hindering the pursuit of individuals with criminal records from the very rights that are promised to them in the constitution.
The 15th amendment of the United States Constitution gives any citizen in the United States the right to vote regardless of race, color, or previous condition of servitude. In the state of Arizona, those who have been convicted of a felony must meet specific criteria before they are given their right to vote back. The 19th amendment follows the same philosophy as the 15th but focuses on how the states cannot deny the right to vote based on the gender of a person.
Loss of Rights in Arizona After Conviction
Once an individual completes the imprisonment and probationary periods in the state of Arizona, they may file requests to have their civil rights reinstated. If only one felony conviction exists on the criminal record, the rights of the individual will be reinstated following completion of their sentencing, except for gun rights.
To have the 2nd amendment rights reinstated in the state of Arizona, the person must apply through the Superior Court in the county in which they were convicted. The same applies to those who have more than one felony conviction on their criminal history. A separate application for each felony must be filled out to have any civil rights reinstated.
Obtaining Legal Counsel
Before ever getting convicted in the state of Arizona, you need to ask for legal counsel as soon as you are charged. Having the right criminal defense lawyer can make or break your case. Trying to handle the court system on your own can be tricky, that is why criminal defense lawyers in Arizona are waiting to take your case.