If a Connecticut police officer arrests you for a felony crime, remember these two critical pieces of advice:
- Remember your right to remain silent.
- Call a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.
There’s a simple reason for invoking your right to remain silent. Instead of proving your innocence, a simple misstatement, or an inaccurate fact can provide enough evidence to jeopardize your defense. Your right to legal representation is just as important. The Connecticut justice system is far too complicated, and the laws are too complex for you to manage without legal assistance.
A Felony Conviction Follows You Forever
Undoubtedly, punishment for a felony conviction involves more than merely paying a fine, doing your time, and moving on with your life. It just doesn’t work that way. Whether you confess, plead guilty, or a court convicts you of a felony, the conviction follows you for the rest of your life. It affects everything you do.
Along with felony convictions, they can also affect your employment prospects even after you’ve completed your probation. It will likely prevent you from becoming a childcare worker, a teacher, a school bus driver, and many other jobs. If you hold a professional license or work for a licensed operation, you will encounter additional employment obstacles.
Since 2016, Connecticut’s “Fair Chance” statute, CGS 557 §31-51i, has provided certain exceptions.
- A prospective employer can’t ask you about criminal convictions during the application process.
- An employer can’t require you to reveal anything about a conviction that has been fully pardoned or erased.
Professional and Employment Licenses
Apart from this, if convicted of a felony in Connecticut, you don’t necessarily lose your professional license automatically. The outcome usually depends on the type of crime and any statutory licensing restrictions.
Architects, teachers, physicians, private detectives, judges, attorneys, contractors, and many other professionals have specific statutory guidelines that determine license revocation, suspension, and potential reinstatement. If you are a foster parent or adoptive parent, you may lose your license if any member of your household gets convicted of a felony. Also, convicted felons get barred from enlisting in the military.
Housing and Public Housing
Moreover, landlords may evict you or refuse to rent to you if you or members of your household get convicted of a specific state, local, or federal crime. Evictions also apply to offenses perceived as a “…health, safety, and welfare..” problems for other tenants.
Public Housing landlords have more leeway and may evict a tenant for merely associating with a person who is arrested for or convicted of a drug crime. They may also remove only the convicted felon and allow other family members to remain tenants. Consequences are less harsh for people who are age 62 and older, blind, or disabled.
Your Right to Privacy
A person convicted of certain sexual crimes must comply with “Megan’s Law.” They must register as a sex offender, provide a DNA sample, and update their address whenever they relocate. The sex offender registry is a publicly available record that anyone can view.
Nevertheless, convicted felons are ineligible for housing assistance, food stamps, higher education loans and grants, and other federal benefits. Restrictions usually are tied to specific crimes, such as those involving controlled substances.
Civic Rights & Responsibilities
You lose the right to own or carry a gun if convicted of a felony. Also, you cannot serve on a jury, run for office, or vote. You can seek restoration of these rights if you are successful in having your criminal record erased or you meet other criteria.
Can You Ever Regain Your Rights?
Furthermore, many of the relevant statutes and guidelines have procedures for reconsideration or reinstatement of your rights. Professional licenses have guidelines within each license statute. Some of the described consequences end after a certain number of years.
When a convicted felon qualifies, the Connecticut Board of Pardons and Paroles issues two types of pardons that can eliminate or ease some of the employment restrictions.
- Absolute Pardon: This is also known as an expungement. It erases your criminal record.
- A Certificate of Employability: This certifies that a convicted felon is “employable.” It prohibits an employer from denying employment based on a criminal record. It also confirms that a person is eligible for specific licenses.
Contact the Sadler Law Group
If arrested for a felony crime in Connecticut, remember your right to remain silent. When the authorities allow you to make a call, contact The Sadler Law Group. We’ve helped many people protect their legal rights, and we’d like the opportunity to help you. You can reach us at (203) 951-1360 or complete our contact form to schedule a consultation.