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Can weapons and voting rights be restored after a felony?

On Behalf of | Mar 25, 2024 | Criminal Defense

Felony crimes in Missouri result in more serious consequences than misdemeanor offenses do. In general, the courts can impose harsher penalties for a felony offense than a misdemeanor crime. A person who pleads guilty or gets convicted of a felony may face more time in state facilities, larger fines and other potential consequences.

Even after serving a sentence in state facilities, those convicted of felony offenses often find that their prior infractions limit their opportunities in life. Background checks can keep people from continuing their education, renting a living space or obtaining a new job. The criminal offense on someone’s record can also affect some of their civil liberties. For example, felons generally lose their eligibility for firearm ownership and the right to vote.

Can convicted felons in Missouri regain their right to vote or own weapons?

Voting rights are eligible for restoration

No one currently serving a sentence in state custody is eligible to vote. Anyone convicted of a felony or misdemeanor offense who must serve a sentence of incarceration cannot vote while in state custody. However, they can regain that privilege after the end of their sentence. Someone convicted of a misdemeanor regains the right to vote once they leave prison or jail. Someone convicted of a felony must fulfill all of their sentencing requirements. Parole or probation must be over before they regain the right to vote.

Weapons consequences are permanent

Both federal rules and Missouri state statutes impact the firearm ownership rights of those with felony convictions. Missouri state law very clearly imposes permanent restrictions on those convicted of felony offenses. Serving a sentence does not make someone eligible for a restoration of their firearm rights. After a felony conviction in Missouri, an individual can never again legally possess firearms and other weapons subject to state regulations. Depending on the allegations someone faces and the evidence the state has, there are a variety of potential defense strategies that could help someone avoid a conviction.

Fighting criminal charges in court is generally the only way to avoid the possible penalties permitted under Missouri state law. The defendants who understand the long-term implications of a guilty plea may better understand the value of assertively defending against criminal allegations.

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