Will a criminal conviction follow you the rest of your life?

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Although lawmakers may tout rehabilitation as one of the goals of the criminal justice system, there are practical complications. Is it really possible to start fresh after a criminal conviction? A recent article suggests that the consequences of alleged criminal activity may linger.

Specifically, a Lake County, Florida judge recently signed an order that essentially prohibits the mayor of Groveland from exercising any authority. The reason: two 30-year-old prior felony drug convictions in the mayor’s past. The Florida Constitution does not permit anyone with a felony conviction to hold public office.

There may be a loophole. The Florida Constitution also provides that that ban on felons voting or holding office can be overcome if the individual’s civil rights are restored. In this case, the mayor asserts that seeking clemency is unnecessary because he never served jail time.

Our law firm has represented many individuals accused of serious crimes. We review the entire criminal record, including the arrest procedures, for strategic benefit. If any procedural violations were present, we will interweave them in a strong defense. If the court agrees that any evidence was illegally obtained, it might be excluded, possibly depriving the prosecution of the means of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

At the same time, our law office is not afraid to go to trial. We have advocated for clients in over 100 jury trials. In fact, sometimes the most effective inducement for a plea negotiation is putting up a strong criminal defense at trial. Prosecutors may also offer a plea deal to a defendant who is a first-time offender or has other mitigating circumstances.

Source: Orlando Sentinel, “Felony convictions prompt judge to strip Groveland mayor's authority,” Jason Ruiter and Jerry Fallstrom, Jan. 4, 2017

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