What Rights are Lost with a Felony Conviction in Calfornia?

If you are convicted of a felony, your life will change in several ways. For one, you will lose some of your rights as an American citizen. Though you might have heard certain rights are inalienable and cannot be lost no matter what, the truth is a felony conviction changes things. Let’s take a look at the rights lost following such a conviction.

The Fallout From a Felony Conviction: Gun Ownership Rights are Lost

Californians lose certain rights after being convicted of a felony. Even if a convicted felon serves his or her sentence and is released from prison, some rights are forever lost. This is somewhat disappointing as the point of sending a convicted felon to prison is to reform him or her with the overarching aim of providing the offender with the opportunity to contribute to society.

Though convicted felons have the right to vote, even if still in prison, several other rights are lost. As an example, a convicted felon loses his or her right to own a firearm. A Californian resident convicted of a felony is banned from owning and even using a gun indefinitely. In fact, even those who are convicted of a felony in a state other than California are barred from owning or using a gun in California. The bottom line is a felony conviction strips away Californians’ Second Amendment rights.

The Right to Travel Internationally

Though felons are legally permitted to possess a passport, they are not permitted to travel abroad. This means it is pointless for convicted felons to have a passport. Sadly, many convicted felons who apply for a visa to visit another country are denied due to their criminal history. Though there might be a couple countries that permit a felon to enter, the bottom line is the majority will deny entry.

Employment Rights

Though felons are not denied the right to earn a living through formal employment, it will be challenging to land a job with a felony on one’s record. The sad truth is it is perfectly legal for employers to deny employment due to a criminal record. Plenty of employers will perform a background check prior to offering employment. Making matters worse is the fact that felons are not permitted to hold specific jobs. Some government jobs such as those in the military or working as a police officer mandate a spotless criminal history. Furthermore, felons are ineligible for positions that require a professional license such as a childcare agent or physician.

What About Assistance Programs?

Plenty of felons resort to public assistance programs as they find it difficult to obtain gainful employment. California has numerous programs to assist those who are unemployed or homeless. However, felons might be denied access to such programs, proving ineligible for subsidized housing, food stamps, etc.

Custody Rights

Can you imagine losing custody rights to your children as a parent? This is exactly what might happen if you are convicted of a felony. The court might decide another party is more qualified to provide assistance to your child when you are in prison. If a co-parent is determined to be unfit to raise your offspring, the court might provide custody to another relative or other party. In general, judges view felons as a poor influence on youngsters as there is the looming suspicion that such an individual will physically, emotionally or verbally abuse the child, especially if the felon was convicted of an offense that is violent.

Even if you are released from prison following a felony, you might not be awarded custody of your child. In fact, there is the potential for you to be denied visitation if the guardian of your child insists it is dangerous for you to see or interact with the child.