Broken Handcuffs.jpg

Every criminal offense has a maximum penalty which defines whether it is a misdemeanor or a felony. In Michigan, a felony is a crime that is punishable by two years or more. If you have been convicted of an offense that has a maximum penalty of two years or more you are considered a felon. Examples of common felonies include assault with a weapon, third offense drunk driving, possession of a controlled substance, larceny in a building and many other theft offenses. All firearm and fraud offenses are felonies as well. There are several rights that felons do not have. However, many are misunderstood and therefore I will clarify them below.

Right to Vote

In Michigan a felon has an absolute right to vote except when they are incarcerated in jail a or prison at the time of the election. There are no election booths in jail. Despite Michigan law, many felons believe they have lost their right to vote so they don’t. A felon’s vote counts as much as anyone.

Right to Possess a Firearm or Carry a Concealed Weapon

A person convicted of a felony cannot lawfully possess a firearm pursuant to Michigan and Federal Law. Michigan law also prohibits persons convicted of a felony from carrying a concealed weapon. Felons may, in certain circumstances, get their state firearm possession rights restored. Under the applicable Michigan statute, MCL 750.224f, a felony is defined as, “a violation of a law of this state, or of another state, or of the United States that is punishable by imprisonment for 4 years or more, or an attempt to violate such a law.”

Although pursuant to Michigan law you may lawfully use, possess, transport and sell a firearm, you may still be prohibited under Federal law.  This means in essence that the only firearm you can possess after restoration are certain types of firearms that do not take a modern cartridge, i.e., a pellet rifle, muzzle-loader, or black powder gun.

Right to Serve on a Jury

A person convicted of a felony cannot qualify as a juror in Michigan Judicial Courts or a Federal Grand Jury.

Right to a Sentence Enhancement for Conviction of a Subsequent Felony (Habitual Offender)

A person convicted of a felony can have his or her sentence enhanced or increased for a subsequent felony conviction pursuant to Michigan Habitual Felony Offender Laws. Generally, the more prior felony convictions, the more severe the sentence.

Felons Cannot Join the Military

In most cases, a felony conviction will preclude a person from joining the armed forces.

Professional Licenses

Several types of professionals such as doctors, lawyers, and nurses are required to self-report their criminal convictions to their respective licensing board.  Upon report or discovery of conviction, professionals often find themselves having to defend their future career prospects in administrative proceedings before licensure discipline panels. Possible sanctions include probation with conditions, suspension or total revocation of the applicable professional license.

Immigration Status

Non-citizens who hold visas or green cards face the prospect of deportation if convicted of certain aggravated felonies or crimes of moral turpitude. To be clear, the list of possible offenses listed by the federal government that can trigger deportation include crimes that can be considered misdemeanors under Michigan law (e.g. assault and battery, theft, failure to appear in court, child abuse).


Contact Attorney Steven G. Storrs

The rights that are lost when convicted of a felony can be restored by an expungement of that felony. Attorney Steven G. Storrs has the experience and knowledge to successfully clear your criminal record.

This is not a fully comprehensive list, if you have questions regarding your rights or an expungementplease call Attorney Steven Storrs, at 269-945-2242 or click here to contact me to set up an appointment to discuss your options.

 *This blog is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Statutes frequently change and this post may not be up-to-date. Please consult an attorney before making important decisions regarding your individual situation.