An individual convicted of a felony in either federal or state court, suffers collateral consequences which may continue after the individual has completed his sentence. (A felony conviction is defined as a conviction which is punishable by imprisonment for more than one year.) These collateral consequences are generally known as "civil disabilities."
The following list of civil disabilities is not a comprehensive list and serves only to provide information as to the types of rights and privileges that may be affected as a result of a felony conviction. Furthermore, the following list describes only the general rules governing civil disabilities. As there are exceptions to the application of these general rules, review of the applicable state and federal law is highly recommended in order to determine if a right or privilege will be affected as a result of a felony conviction.
A. Consequences as to Voting
Under Ohio law, a convicted felon=s right to vote is generally suspended during the time he is incarcerated. A felon may vote after his release from incarceration and during any period he is on probation or parole. See Ohio Revised Code ' 2961.01.
B. Consequences as to Jury Service
In Ohio, upon conviction for a felony, a person usually loses the right to serve on a jury. The restoration of a state felon=s right to serve on a state jury is governed by Ohio Revised Code §§ 2961.01 and 2967.16. A presidential pardon will restore the right of a federal felon to serve on a federal or state jury.
C. Consequences for Firearm Privileges
Under Ohio law, a person convicted of any felony offense of violence or any offense involving the illegal possession, use, sale, administration, distribution, or trafficking of any drug of abuse is prohibited from knowingly acquiring, having, carrying, or using any firearm or dangerous ordnance. See Ohio Revised Code ' 2923.13(A)(2), (3). Similarly, under federal law, a person convicted in any court of a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term longer than one year is prohibited from knowingly acquiring, having, carrying, or using any firearm or ammunition. See 18 U.S.C. ' 921(g)(1). Federal law also prohibits firearm possession by persons convicted in any court of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence. See 18 U.S.C. ' 922(g)(9).
Ohio's procedure for restoring a state felon=s firearm privileges is set forth under Ohio Revised Code § 2923.14, which requires a petition in state court requesting restoration of firearm privileges. In order for a federal felon to have firearm privileges restored, he must follow federal procedure. Presently, the only practical way for a federal felon to restore his federal firearms privileges is by obtaining a presidential pardon for the underlying felony.
D. Miscellaneous Consequences
An individual with a felony conviction may be ineligible for certain federal benefits. For example, an individual may be ineligible to receive food stamps, temporary cash assistance for needy families, assisted housing, and student loans as a result of a felony conviction. Additionally, on both the state and federal levels, an individual=s ability to obtain certain employment or licensing may be adversely affected by a felony conviction. Finally, certain felony sex offense convictions require compliance with state and federal sex offender registration and notification statutes.