Legislators often make changes to West Virginia’s laws, and the nature of these may be in response to those who feel that consequences for violations are too lax. On the other hand, often lawmakers realize that current penalties prevent offenders from becoming productive members of society, which increases their likelihood to re-offend once they have served their time and paid their fines.
Gov. Jim Justice has recently signed a bill that reduces the consequences for certain people who have been charged with and convicted of a felony. Only nonviolent offenders qualify to have their conviction reduced from a felony to a misdemeanor on their criminal record. This reduction allows employers to review the illegal activity through a background check, but does not carry the same restrictions to employment that many felonies cause.
The measure, which is known as the Second Chance for Employment Act, originally sought to restore a clean record, but this version of the bill did not pass. Changes moved the bill forward, so now by filing a court petition, a person may be able to considerably improve his or her prospects for the future. Those who have been convicted of drug-related crimes may be the most likely to be eligible for this particular legal change.
Anyone who has been arrested and is facing a criminal charge may have legal options that prevent the situation from permanently affecting his or her outlook. An attorney may understand how changes in the law and legal precedents may affect a case and provide answers and counsel to determine the best path forward.
Source: Herald-Mail Media, “Gov. Justice signs dozens of new W.Va. laws,” April 27, 2017