Can A Felon Vote?

The sad truth is, when you and I were convicted of our felony crimes, we gave up a lot of rights that we will very likely never get back.

Fortunately, the right to vote isn’t one of those — depending on where you live.

As far as I’m aware, in every state you automatically lose the right to vote when you are convicted of a felony.  That’s where the similarities end.

In the state where I committed my crimes, my right to vote was automatically reinstated as soon as I was released from prison. All I had to do was go register to vote (I had never been registered before). Once I was registered, voting has never been a problem.

In fact, me being a felon has never even came up. At no point when registering or voting have I ever been questioned about being a felon.

In Nevada, for example, non-violent offenders and those with a single conviction automatically regain their right to vote. Violent or “second-time” felons, however, don’t. They must petition the court that convicted them in order to have their right to vote restored.

Some of you in other states, however, aren’t so lucky.

Because the right for felons to vote depends entirely on which state you are in, I’m unable to give you an easy “yes or no” answer. In many states, however, the fact that you are a felon does not preclude you from voting.

The best thing to do is to call or visit your local courthouse and ask them about registering to vote.

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Posted by Max - June 11, 2012 at 3:44 am

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Can A Convicted Felon Become A Firefighter?

I have a 1st degree felony on my record since 2005. I want to be a fireman will it effect me or will I be ok?

That’s a tough one to answer. First, let me say that I am not aware of any state laws that would prohibit you from becoming a firefighter. The reality, however, is a bit more difficult than that.

If you were applying for a paid position as a fireman, you’re probably going to have a difficult time. Because it is a paid position, you’re naturally going to have lots of applicants. In order for you to be selected over any of the others, you’re going to have to bring something to the table that no one else has.

Think about it like this: if there are 50 people applying for the position and all have pretty much the same qualifications as you, why would they pick you (the guy with the felony) over any of the others?

In general, you’ll have a better chance the longer it has been since you committed the felony, especially if you have kept your nose clean since then.

If you have the option, I’d recommend trying to start out as a volunteer firefighter. Because there is no pay, you’ll be competing against a lot fewer applicants. This is also a great way to build experience, make some friends who are also firefighters, and get your foot in the door.

Good luck.

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Posted by Max - September 26, 2011 at 12:30 pm

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Can A Felon Associate With Other Felons?

This is another question that I was asked recently. As a general rule, there aren’t any laws that prohibit one convicted felon from associating with another convicted felon.

As always, though, there are exceptions.

The big exceptions to this would be if you are currently on probation or parole or any other supervised program imposed by the Court. If you’re on probation or parole (or have been in the past), I’m sure you know that they can put all kind of restrictions on what you are and aren’t allowed to do.

Many times, you are not supposed to associate with other felons. Generally, there’s a good reason behind this. They figure that if you aren’t hanging out with other convicted criminals, you are less likely to commit any more crimes. To be honest, that’s probably true.

Sometimes it’s hard, though, especially if your family members or long-time friends are also convicted felons. You can’t just not be around your family, can you? Fortunately, courts and probation and parole officers understand that.

As for whether or not it’s a good idea to hang around other felons, well, one of the reasons that I have managed to overcome my past and become successful is because I stopped hanging out with those people who I had a habit of getting in trouble with.

I’m sure there are people somewhere who can continue to hang out with their old friends (who continue to do things they shouldn’t) and not get in trouble, but that wasn’t me. I had to make new friends if I wanted to put my past life behind me.

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Posted by Max - September 25, 2011 at 2:00 pm

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Can A Convicted Felon Become An Attorney?

That’s a question that came out recently. I set out to find out the answer.

What I discovered was somewhat surprising. In most states, there aren’t any state laws that prohibits a convicted felon from becoming a lawyer. As long as one completes college, he or she is just as eligible as anyone else.

There is one major gotcha, however. Most states will complete a background investigation of anyone wishing to become an attorney.

Being a convicted felon is not an automatic disqualification, but they will look into your criminal history, background, character, and such to see if you are morally and ethically “fit” for the job. Their decision, I’m guessing, would depend highly on the circumstances of your crime and your behavior post-conviction.

It seems like quite a challenge and a huge hurdle to overcome, but I encourage you to pursue your dreams.

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Posted by Max -  at 1:09 am

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Can A Convicted Felon Legally Shoot A Gun?

Here’s a question that came up recently:

Can a convicted felon shoot a gun legally? I know that convicted felons cannot own firearms, but can they shoot them? Like if a friend or family member owns the gun?

Although everyone pretty much knows that felons cannot legally own a firearm, it’s a good question.

Unfortunately, federal law prohibits the possession of a firearm by anyone convicted of a felony. There are a few exceptions to the statute (such as when a person has had his or her civil rights restored by the State in which they were convicted), but most people won’t meet the requirements.

Although many convicted felons have turned their lives around and may simply want to hunt or target shoot, they would be violating federal law and facing up to 10 years in prison.

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Posted by Max - September 12, 2011 at 11:00 pm

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