TULSA, Oklahoma. Felony convictions can have a serious impact on your life and ability to find work. One man found himself facing difficulty finding jobs after having to disclose his former marijuana conviction to future employers. Oregon Live reported that he was not permitted to work on federal projects and wasn’t even allowed to travel to Canada. Felony drug convictions can affect your life long after you have served your time. Individuals with these charges may not be permitted to seek student loans, apply for certain types of jobs, and enjoy certain types of federal aid.
Yet, with marijuana becoming legal in more states, some individuals are fighting to have their former criminal convictions cleared. In Oregon, individuals with felony marijuana convictions were able to have these convictions sealed. This means that they won’t have to disclose them to future employers and won’t have to face some of the collateral consequences that come along with having a felony record. Individuals who live in Oregon, for example, can take their charges to court where a judge can reclassify the crime as it would be handled under current law.
Clearing a marijuana conviction from your record seems to depend largely on where you live in America. According to the Marshall Project, in California, the legalization of marijuana also opened avenues for individuals with pot charges to have the convictions expunged or reduced to less serious offenses. For some residents of California, the ability to have these charges expunged is life-changing. One man said that he can now apply for citizenship thanks to his clean record. In other cases, individuals have been released from jail.
California goes rather far in allowing individuals with prior convictions the ability to expunge these records or have their charges adjusted to match current law. Other states don’t offer their citizens the same degree of relief. While many states are lured into legalizing marijuana for the potential tax revenue it can bring, lawmakers are far more reluctant to let people off the hook for past infractions of the state’s marijuana laws.
Other states offer individuals options similar to those offered in Oregon. In Colorado, some marijuana infractions can be sealed. In Maryland, individuals can apply to have their charges expunged from their records after four years.
While the laws regarding marijuana expungement are currently patchwork, there are some lawmakers who are pushing for more national relief. A recent bill proposed on a national level would act to decriminalize the drug and expunge charges from individuals’ records. Such relief is likely years away under the current administration. Until then, if you are facing criminal charges, your best bet is to seek competent legal representation before you are found guilty and are convicted. A qualified drug crime lawyer like the Tulsa, Oklahoma Henson Law Firm, P.L.L.C. can work with you to either have your charges dropped, or see to a plea deal that will lead to the best possible record and outcome going forward. If you are facing charges, don’t delay. You are innocent until proven guilty. Visit our website at https://myoklahomadefenselawyer.com/ to learn more.