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How are personal rights impacted by felonies in New Hampshire?

For individuals who are convicted of a felony in New Hampshire, some personal rights can be impacted. When it comes to rights lost or maintained, the Uniform Act on Status of Convicted Persons first defines what it refers to as a felony. A person is considered a felon if convicted of any crime that warrants a sentence of imprisonment in a state or federal prison or a sentence of death.

According to the Act, felons do lose certain rights upon conviction. Rights lost include the ability to hold a public office or become a candidate for one and the ability to vote in an election unless a sentence has been suspended or the person has been paroled. Any defendant who is convicted while holding public office forfeits that office at the time sentencing is announced. The defendant may be restored to the office if a conviction is reversed. An appeal does not cause the defendant to remain in office, according to the act.

In most cases, a conviction doesn't mean a person loses rights to things such as property. There are cases where property may be seized in keeping with other laws and statutes, however. Convicted felons also retain a number of civil rights and can enter into contracts, file law suits, be named as a defendant in a law suit, enter into private business agreements and receive or transfer property, among other things.

Protecting a defendant's rights throughout and after the legal process is an important aspect of a defense strategy. Other things considered when planning for a criminal defense include whether to plea bargain and how the level of charges may impact sentencing.

Source: The State of New Hampshire, "Incarcerated Felons" Dec. 23, 2014

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