A felony drug conviction in Oklahoma carries consequences that extend beyond the immediate legal ramifications. These collateral consequences can impact various aspects of an individual’s life, often persisting long after a sentence is complete.
Understanding these consequences is important for anyone navigating the legal system in Oklahoma.
A felony drug conviction can pose substantial barriers to employment. Many employers conduct background checks. Having a felony on record may lead to automatic disqualification for certain jobs. Industries that involve trust or handling sensitive information, such as finance or health care, may be particularly stringent in their hiring processes. This can make it hard for people with a felony drug conviction to secure meaningful employment.
Finding suitable housing can also be hard for those with a felony drug conviction. Landlords often conduct background checks as part of their screening process, and a criminal record may result in denial of housing applications. This limitation can contribute to housing instability.
Loss of voting rights
In Oklahoma, a felony drug conviction can lead to the loss of voting rights during the period of incarceration and, in some cases, beyond. While individuals may regain their voting rights after completing their sentence, the process can be complex. Whether this is possible also varies depending on the situation.
Pursuing higher education may become a challenge for individuals with felony drug convictions. Some schools may have policies that restrict admission based on criminal records. This limitation can impede personal and professional growth. It can also hinder access to opportunities that could contribute to successful reintegration into society.
The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation reports that there were more than 11,700 drug arrests statewide in 2020. How many of those arrests were for felony offenses is unclear, but the collateral consequences that come with a felony conviction can make it hard for people to rebuild their lives in the aftermath.