As a part of our ongoing coverage of the new drive-only license, Tribuna has been featuring a number of stories dedicated to informing our readers as to what to expect and how to apply for the new license. Our editorial staff has received several questions, one of which was: What is a felony?
A felony is a serious crime. According to Connecticut law, it is a crime punishable by a term of imprisonment in excess of one year up to life without the possibility of parole. A felony conviction will stand as a barrier to any applicant for the new drive-only license being offered by the Department of Motor Vehicles coming in January. Therefore, if you or a friend is seeking to apply for the drive-only license, it is crucial that you know what it means to have a felony conviction and how to find out if you do.
First, let us discuss what a felony is. A felony is any crime punishable by a prison sentence of more than one year. This does not mean that in order to be convicted of a felony you have to go to jail for more than one year. You can be convicted of a felony and not do any jail time. You can be convicted of the felony and only pay a fine or be on probation. So it is very possible for a person to be charged with a felony, plead guilty, be convicted and not see a single day in jail. That same person, if he or she were an immigrant looking to apply for the drive-only license, would be ineligible to apply.
A conviction can only occur if someone pleads guilty in a court before a Superior Court judge. The judge will go through a panel of questions with you and ask if you have had enough time to consult with an attorney and whether or not you agree with the factual basis of the guilty plea as read by the prosecutor. A felony conviction carries with it substantial collateral damage. Should an immigrant, even a green card holder, plead guilty to a felony, then any possibility of becoming a citizen is pretty much out of the question. If you have ever said the word