You have been convicted of a felony, so you can no longer vote, right? See why that is not true.
Nobody wants to be convicted of any crime, especially a felony. A felony conviction can be life changing. You must face the punishment for your crime, which may mean fines and many years in prison. Plus, there are other repercussions that can affect various aspects of your life, such as voting, employment, and gun ownership.
What you may not know, however, is that some rights can be restored once you complete your sentence. Voting is one of them. Effective September 1, 1997, the legislature restored voting rights to convicted felons in Texas. Texas law states that once someone has "fully discharged" their sentence or has been pardoned, their right to vote is automatically restored.
However, it may not be clear as to if your sentence has been fully completed. Here are some guidelines to follow. Contact the Austin criminal defense attorneys at Granger and Mueller PC to learn more.
Are You in Prison?
A person who is currently incarcerated is not eligible to vote. You will be legally allowed to vote when your full sentence ends, including parole and probation. You may also pay any fines or restitution before your right to vote is restored.
Are You on Parole or Probation?
You must finish your parole or probation unless you have received a pardon from the governor restoring your civil rights. Otherwise, if you try to vote while on parole, you would be committing a new crime. If you are unsure of your eligibility, contact a lawyer before attempting to vote.
What Else to Know
Once an offender has finished their prison sentence as well as any parole or probation, they will need to re-register to vote if they want to take advantage of their right to vote.
Also, being able to vote is not the same as being able to run for office. Completing a sentence for a felony crime does not restore a person’s candidacy or eligibility to run for a public office. Texas law states that a person who is elected or appointed to office must not have been convicted of a felony. This means that the right to be a candidate is not restored upon release from prison unless they have received a pardon.
The same applies for serving on a jury. A Texas resident who has been convicted of a felony is not eligible to serve on a jury after completing their sentence unless they have received a pardon. That right is not automatically restored.
Contact Our Travis County Criminal Defense Lawyer Today
Many people wrongly believe that they cannot ever vote again in Texas after a felony conviction, but that is simply not true. If you have been convicted of a felony, make sure you understand your legal rights.
The Austin criminal defense attorneys at Granger and Mueller PC can help you restore your rights after a Texas felony. Learn more about your eligibility to vote by contacting us today. Schedule a consultation by filling out the online form or calling (512) 474-9999.