A Felon For Too Long

I am a 26 year old single mother. When I was 18 I got into a fist fight with a 19 year old girl. We were at a huge party that our town had once a year.  Neither her, nor I appeared to have injuries. A few days later I was arrested and charged with Maliscious wounding!! Apparently the girl reported that i hit her with a glass bottle!! I obtained a court appointed lawyer and had a trial in Circuit Court In James City Co. Virginia. I was offered a plea bargain by this lawyer that was appointed to me. At 18 years old, my biggest fear was going to jail. The lawyer told me that I should accept the plea bargain, even though I had wittnesses stating that I did not attack the girl with a bottle!! The lawyer said that if I went before the judge and stated that I did not commit the crime I was likely to get the 20 year sentence the crime carried!! I accepted the plea bargain and served 6 months in jail with 5 years probation that carried a 4.5 yr. sentence over my head. I made it through the probation, but am finding it very hard to be successfull in life with this AWFUL title over my head. I am raising my wonderful 5 year old son on my own. I am very frustrated at the fact that I can not even rent a nice apartment for us because of this Felony!!! Why do I keep getting punished?!?!?! This is America!! I want a nice job with a nice place to live because I am a hard worker and honest person!!! I have attended college to get some credits and earn a degree.Unfortunatly I am not in classes this semester, I work too much and really need want to concentrate when I go back, hopefully Spring 2009.

tommysmommy2003 tommysmommy2003
17 Responses Aug 5, 2008

When I was doing my time I got into the law library I came out very successful I am achieving all of my dreams at this time it is slow and hard but it is possible. so long story short here's some things that you should be looking up in the law. (The right to life and any laws that govern them,) and white slavery or any other type of slavery new or old, remember under the Constitution incarceration is a legal form of slavery; and learn to file court papers in a court. There is so much more than I could ever put here for you to learn, but this is a good start and you will find that you have a a legitimate & fear second chance that only comes with knowledge. And not just programs but actual laws that says they can not do this

Same here I took a pled deal, when I really wanted to go through trial. My lawyer played me so bad I think about it everyday. Am educated and have two children am about to lose my job and I have no income right now. They told me in 5 years the judge may clear may record. but 5 years is too long. My child jump bad at me I fear for my life and defend myself and they stick me with child abuse third degree. But the mess up part about it is, they give my child back to me and then make it hard for me to provide for me children. Something must me done! Please no one with a child should move to Warren, Michigan who is black. They prosecutor told my daughter she wanted to see me suffer.

I received 6 months probation with the lessor sentence, I still don't understand why this have to stay on my record.

hello tommysmommy,,,it is a sad fact that we as felon's can never escape the cruelty of society...you had a bad night many years ago as i did,,,my crime was quite different but none the less i served my time in prison...4 years and 16 day's ! plus i lost my family and all of my property for a 1 minute mistake....now i carry that title FELON over my head as well. The sad thing is that we cannot move ahead with our live's because of this ...and we continue to be punished after we have done our time and met our obligations....they call that ex-post-facto......meaning punishment after the fact....i guess in layman's term's...being punished after already being punished...which is supposed to be illegal....anyway,,hang in there and continue to do the best you can and don't give up!!!! you are doing great!!

I have the same isssue due to a drug addiction so I commited presc<x>ription fraud. My problem is now I live in a at wil state. I disclosed my background in writing to all involved in the hiring process, quit my job to take this better job. The day I was suppose to start they revoked the offer saying they would be fined hiring a felon because they were an insurance company even though I was laid off from one insurance company because they left the state who wrote me a nice recommendation letter. I need to know who to contact about this. I will not go down quietly. It is not fair to use our mistakes against us to manipulate our weaknesses and fears. Being a recovering addict is hard enough (4 yrs clean) and my probation was released due to good behavior. Why should I let me past dictate my future and I will be heard. Any advice on who I could contact would be greately appreciated. I want to stand up for those who can't speak for themselves.


I can relate on many levels. One night of extremely poor judgment has resulted in a complete life change. I have lost everything I worked so for. I tried for a long time not to get caught up in the negativity surrounding me but now I feel consumed by it. Will it ever end? I was convicted on 2 counts of DUI w/serious bodily injury. Charges stemmed from a single event. I should never been driving and will regret it til I die, but I was not the cause of the accident. Witnesses even told the police the other car ran the red light and t-boned me. As a result the 2 passengers in that vehicle were injured. Once established that one of the drivers is impaired fault automatically falls on them, me. After that it was and still seems to be a snowball effect. I in no way want to minimize the pain of the "victims" but it is my firm belief that I was over insured and my case became about$$$$. 500,000 was paid between both "V"s one suffered from a broken wrist, the other hit her knees onthe dash, nothing broken but she was very heavy and took a good deal of time to recover. I am trying not to be bitter but the accident was 5 years ago and I am still deep in the legal bull. A year in jail, followed by 2 yrs house arrest, 3 yrs drug offender prob., and to top it off a 5 yr suspended hanging over my head with a Jugde who will absolutely send me to prison if I screw up. That is only the legal part. Personally the cost is much higher. Everyday seems to bring more challenges, now it is only survival and staying out of prison for goals. I swear if it were not for my kids I would just scream "Lock me up, i quit!"

I live in Oregon and I was convicted of an Assault 3. Im not sure but I think I hit a car and gave the guy a bloody nose. I struggled through deadend jobs. Im going to go ahead and throw in my citizenship card and be one of those Sovereign Citizens. If anybody needs a boost hit me up @<br />

I was convicted of a non-violent, non-drug related felony in 1989. Contrary to some of the statements I've read here post-trial expongement is not always an option, at least not in Tennessee where my charge originated. I have nothing else on my record - period - clean driving record, and have had my voting rights reinstated [for what THAT'S worth]. I wanted to teach and had my heart set on it until I found out my conviction nixed that dream. <br />
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It's freaking hypocritical - a physician can commit a felony and later get thier license reinstated with a slap on the wrist, but somebody who made a bad decision can't even get a job through a temp service now with a felony [as I found out today]. You're ****** either way - if you answer "yes" on an application it's unlikely they are going to take you into account [how can we not be cynical about this?] and if you answer "no" and they find out otherwise, you lose your job. I would like to know what criteria they base these value judgments on? I've already beat the statistical odds going 20 years clean and straight. I'm not a second class citizen yet I feel discriminated against. I served my pennance, then why am I still being punished?

Hey Ms. Tommysmommy . :)<br />
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My name is Rozina. I am doing a junior research project for school. The topic is life after prison and the obstacles they face once released. I was wondering if I could use a bit of your experience to help me prove my thesis. My thesis is "More reentry programs need to be established because of the many obstacles faced by convicted felons once released from prison."

I know exactly how you feel! My husband was in a bad accident and got a felony. It's 20 years later and he works for the Gov't (15yrs) but we can't get an apartment due to that felony. He has been a law abiding citizen since then but because of this he may lose his job due to being forced to relocate to other state. My heart goes out to you because you're trying to do what is right and provide your child a better future but the state laws dangle it over head at the worst possible time/place. Keep your head up and see if it can be expunged.

I've found that in Oregon it is 3 years after your conviction you may have your record expunged - however you can only have Class C felonies and below (misdemeanors) expunged. If you have a Class B or A felony you cannot have it expunged, but it seems that the DA from the county of conviction said there is a way to petition the court to have a Class B reduced to a Class C. I have also talked with some of my college professors that said that the reduction and expungement of your record is a civil matter and therefore you should be able to find legal aid or legal services in your area that will help you for free if you qualify (some use monetary or standard of living scales or a need basis - i.e. if someone is getting unfairly evicted they may take precedence over you as you can wait while they cannot etc.) I am in the process of tracking down free legal aid for myself - I may have to travel to my county of conviction to get it, but attorney's fees can run in the thousands of dollars even for expungements where it's mostly a matter of filling out and filing paperwork with the right offices and then talking to a judge. Good luck with your expungement - and don't lose hope... I'm sure there is a way for everyone to regain their footing, regardless of what state they live in.

Thank you all so much for your support and advice. It is sad to know that there are others out there who can relate because we are meeting on -not so pleasent- common ground. Since my original post I have moved to Florida. Life is much better here and I was able to get my son and myself into a very pretty house :) I am waiting until the spring when it will have been exactly 10 years, before I turn in my paperwork to the GOV of VA to have my felony expunged.... or atleast try!!!! Thank You all so much and best of luck!!! tanyasmith, ur site is awesome!

I'm from Oregon - and this is pretty much my story too - cept my crime was conspiracy to commit burglary, & burglary in the 2nd degree. I committed my crime in 1999 and could get the 2nd degree burglary expunged since it's a class C felony but the conspiracy charge (planning of a burglary basically) is a class B and is not able to be expunged. As far as I understand it - I will not ever be able to move the class B felony from my record. I just moved into a new apartment last September and I had to have a co-signer and extra deposit due to the felony. I committed the crime when I was 19 and am now 29. I'll have my Bachelor's Degree from the University of Oregon by the end of Fall 2009 but I will have a hell of a time using that degree because so many places have absolutely no hiring of felons... Under no circumstances - they actually have no-hire policies in place - which seems like it ought to be illegal after a certain period of time after the commission of your crime. <br />
I believe that ex-felons wanting to re-integrate themselves and/or reclaim their rights after a period of time is a perfectly reasonable request, and especially so when the person has kept their nose clean and has worked to improve their life. It seems that we should have advocacy! If anyone is interested in a felon advocacy group - we should start a non-profit or see if their is one!

Dear Tommysmommy,<br />
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I'm unfamiliar with the laws is your state. But I'm nearly positive at this point that you can get your record EXPUNGED. That is, make it go away. I agree. Your situation is grossly unfair. You were given poor legal advice as a frightened youth. And you are still paying. It's clear that you are a decent citizen who only wants to provide a life for Tommy and yourself. I agree with Neveah. It seems the punishment goes on and on. <br />
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There is an attorney on the west coast. You can go to kgo.com, and click on the radio option. Then look for Len Tillem. He isn't a criminal atty, but has a heart, and will help you find one. If you can listen, on the Internet, on Sundays, between 4-7 P.M. You may be able to call in @800.808.0810. Or send him email by going to lentillem.com, then click contact. The most important word I want you to remember, is expunge/expungement=to obliterate, to make go away. It CAN happen. I would help you myself, but I haven't taken the bar yet, we probably don't live near one another, and I have some husband problems right now. <br />
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You are young, I'm sure smart and charming, as a last resort, get out the phone book, look for a criminal atty, take your baby with you for a free consultation with a sympathetic atty, charm him with only the truth, and he may take your case for free. I know that I would if I could. Good luck. You are a prime candidate for this procedure. Please check back.

This should help www.tashasmith.webs.com watch the video and contact me if you want to join the cause.

Thats shocking...so where do all the 'crims'live then......dont worry I have a criminal conviction to for common assult...........if your poor uneducated, welfare dependent, vulnerable the lega lsystem is not your friend.......I was being bullied and I fought back.............I believe in Karma........keep hope....something will come up...Dont you have anti discrimination laws in your country?<br />
chin up

I find this disturbing. We do live in America. But, sometimes I wonder how "free" are we? We can't get a car, because of a medical bill on our credit report. We cant get a house, because of it. If we can't drive, then we can't work, and if we can't get a place to live, then what the **** are we supposed to do??????????<br />
I think there is way too much privacy invasion nowadays.