Every criminal offense has a maximum penalty which defines whether its a misdemeanor or a felony. In Michigan, a felony is a crime that is punishable by two years or more. If you have been convicted of an offense that has a maximum penalty of two years or more you are considered a felon. Examples of common felonies include assault with a weapon, third offense drunk driving, second offense possession of marijuana, possession of cocaine, heroine, or controlled substance without a prescription, and many theft offenses including larceny in a building, home invasion, burglary, and larceny over $1,000.00. All firearm and fraud offenses are felonies as well. There are several rights that felons do not have. Many of them like the right to vote, are misunderstood and therefore I will clarify them below.
Right to Vote
A felon’s right to vote in state and federal elections vary among different states. In Michigan a felon has an absolute right to vote except when they are incarcerated in jail a or prison at the time of the election. There are no election booths in jail. Despite Michigan law, many felons believe they have lost their right to vote so they don’t do it. A felon’s vote counts as much as anyones. If given a chance, encourages felons to vote in our elections.
Right to Possess a Firearm or Carry a Concealed Weapon
A person convicted of a felony cannot lawfully possess a firearm pursuant to Michigan and Federal Law. Michigan law also prohibits persons convicted of a felony from carrying a concealed weapon. Felons may, in certain circumstances, get their state firearm possession rights restored.
Right to Serve on a Jury
A person convicted of a felony cannot qualify as a juror in Michigan Judicial Courts or a Federal Grand Jury.
Felons Cannot Own a Michigan Liquor License
In Michigan to own an establishment that sells or serves liquor, beer and/or wine a person must be granted a liquor license from the Michigan Liquor Control Commission. They will probably not grant a liquor license to a felon. You do not need a liquor license to be a bartender or waitress. Only the owner or owners of the establishment must be licensed.
Right to a sentence enhancement for conviction of a subsequent felony (habitual offender)
A person convicted of a felony can have their sentence enhanced or increased for a subsequent felony conviction pursuant to Michigan Habitual Felony Offender Laws. Generally, the more prior felony convictions, the more severe the sentence.
Felons Are Precluded from Having a Michigan Gaming (Casino) License
Most jobs working in one of Michigan’s three casinos require a gaming license from the Michigan Gaming Commission. A felony conviction will keep someone from obtaining this license. If already licensed, a felony conviction will cause a licensee to lose the license therefore losing their job
Felons Cannot Join the Military
In most cases, a felony conviction will preclude a person from joining the armed forces.
How to Get Rid of a Felony Conviction
Felony convictions can be removed or set aside in Michigan under certain circumstances. Click here for more information about removing felony convictions.
If you or a loved one has been charged of a felony offense, the best way to avoid a felony conviction is retain a good criminal defense attorney. Call the Law Office of Barton Morris at (248) 541-2600.