A Maryland-based group called Life After Release is working to ensure those detained and incarcerated while awaiting trial have access to vote. Although there’s no law on the books in our state that prevents people charged with a crime from voting, detained individuals often can’t vote because they don’t have the accessibility to do so. Once detained and behind bars, they can’t access their polling place and may not know their other options.
The group, according to 47abc.com, is working to ensure that every detainee in Maryland has access to vote. They aim to do so by getting the state involved, posting signs and notices in jails, parole offices, and probation offices, informing individuals of their rights and how to access a voting ballot. It’s crucial that everyone is aware of their constitutional rights.
Your rights if you are convicted of a crime
You will not lose your right to vote if you are charged with a crime – but you will lose your right to cast a vote in an election if you are convicted. This isn’t the only right or privilege you may lose as a result of a criminal conviction. There are a number of ways a conviction can negatively affect your life, long after you’ve served the terms of your sentence. These are sometimes called “collateral consequences.”
- Employment. A criminal record can harm your chances of securing a job or promotion. Most employers ask for a background or criminal history on an application, which can cause qualified applicants to lose out on opportunities. Additionally, for some teachers or government workers, a criminal conviction can mean mandatory termination of employment.
- Housing and other benefits. Criminal convictions can also prohibit you from receiving public housing assistance or benefits like welfare. You may also be evicted from some housing if you are convicted of certain crimes, like sex crimes.
- Right to possess a firearm. Under state law, if you’ve been convicted of a felony or violent crime, you will be prohibited from ever owning or possessing a firearm. Federal law also prohibits certain individuals from possessing firearms, including anyone convicted of or under indictment for a crime punishable by more than one year in prison. This also includes those under restraining orders or convicted of domestic violence.
- Right to vote. If you have been convicted of a felony in Maryland, you cannot vote until you have completed your court-ordered sentence. However, your right to vote is not automatically reinstated. You must apply to have your voting rights restored. Note: You may not have your voting rights restored if you were convicted of buying or selling votes.
- Student and federal loans. Conviction of certain crimes can result in denial of a wide variety of federal benefits, including government loans. You may not be able to qualify for student grants and other federal financial aid.
As you can see, if you’re facing criminal charges, you have a lot to lose. The experienced criminal defense attorneys at Carey Law Office can help. We launch a vigorous defense on your behalf to prevent collateral consequences and loss of your rights. For a consultation, please call 301-464-2500 or use our contact form to schedule an appointment. We have offices in Bowie and Crofton.