A felony conviction has far-reaching consequences that can profoundly impact various aspects of your life. Beyond the immediate legal consequences, the collateral consequences of a felony conviction can manifest in limited employment opportunities, denial of civic rights, and tarnished personal reputations. However, a legal avenue exists known as expungement, which offers hope for an individual seeking to overcome the burdensome effects of a criminal record and embark on a path of redemption.
This blog will delve into the wide-ranging consequences of a felony conviction, shedding light on how it can affect your personal and professional life. We will also explore the concept of expungement, its eligibility requirements, and the benefits it can bring. Moreover, we will highlight the significance of seeking legal representation during the expungement process, as well as the role a skilled attorney can play in maximizing the chances of a successful expungement.
Whether you have recently been convicted of a felony or have carried the weight of a criminal record for years, our main goal in this article is to help you comprehend the potential consequences of your conviction and explore the possibility of expungement. With a dedicated legal team by your side, the path to redemption can become a reality, enabling you to rebuild your life and restore your reputation within society.
How Does a Felony Conviction Affect Employment?
A felony conviction can have a significant impact on employment prospects. The collateral consequences of a felony conviction often result in barriers and limitations when seeking gainful employment.
Here are some ways in which a felony conviction can affect employment:
- Limited job opportunities — Many employers conduct background checks on prospective employees, and a felony conviction can create a negative impression.
- Automatic disqualifications — Certain felony convictions may result in automatic disqualifications for specific types of employment. For instance, individuals convicted of certain violent crimes may be prohibited from working in professions that involve contact with vulnerable populations, such as children or the elderly.
- Employer bias and stigma — Even if an individual’s felony conviction is unrelated to the job they are applying for, some employers may still harbor biases or stigmatize applicants with criminal records. This prejudice can make it difficult for individuals to secure employment, despite their qualifications and ability to perform the job competently.
- Mandatory disclosure — Job applications often require applicants to disclose any prior felony convictions. Failing to disclose this information truthfully can result in immediate disqualification from the hiring process, while disclosing it honestly may result in the employer scrutinizing the applicant’s criminal history more closely.
- Limited advancement opportunities — Even if individuals with felony convictions manage to secure employment, they may encounter limitations on advancement opportunities within their chosen field. Promotions, managerial roles, or positions of trust and responsibility may be off-limits due to the lingering effects of a criminal record.
Navigating the complexities of employment after a felony conviction requires careful consideration and often legal guidance. Consulting with an experienced attorney can help you understand your rights, explore available options, and develop a strategic approach to improve your employment prospects.
How a Felony Conviction Can Affect Your Professional License
A felony conviction can have severe consequences on professional licensing. Many professions in California require individuals to obtain and maintain a valid license in order to practice legally.
However, certain felony convictions can result in restrictions, denials, or revocations of professional licenses. Here are some ways in which a felony conviction can impact professional licensing:
- Licensing boards’ discretion — Each professional licensing board has the authority to assess an applicant’s criminal record during the licensing process. The board may consider the nature of the felony conviction, its relevance to the profession, and any potential risk it poses to public safety and welfare.
- Denial of initial license — Some licensing boards may outright deny an individual’s application for a professional license if they have a felony conviction on their record. The denial may be based on specific regulations or policies that prohibit individuals with certain types of felony convictions from obtaining a license in that profession.
- Case-by-case evaluation — In many instances, licensing boards assess felony convictions on a case-by-case basis. Factors such as the severity of the offense, the time that has passed since the conviction, evidence of rehabilitation, and subsequent conduct may be considered when evaluating an applicant’s fitness for licensure.
- Probationary licenses — In some cases, licensing boards may grant probationary licenses to individuals with felony convictions. This allows them to practice under certain conditions, such as supervision, regular reporting, or completing specific rehabilitation programs. Successful completion of probationary periods may lead to the full restoration of license rights.
- License revocation — If a professional licensee is convicted of a felony while holding a valid license, the licensing board has the authority to revoke the license. The revocation is typically based on the grounds that the felony conviction renders the licensee unfit to practice their profession or poses a risk to public safety.
Note that the impact of a felony conviction on professional licensing varies depending on the specific profession and the nature of the conviction. This is why it would be best to consult with an experienced attorney who specializes in professional licensing issues. An attorney can provide guidance, assess eligibility for relief, and help individuals present the strongest possible case to licensing boards.
Can a Person With a Felony Conviction Vote?
Individuals with felony convictions are allowed to vote once they have completed their prison term and are no longer on parole. Once an individual has successfully completed their prison sentence and parole, their voting rights are restored automatically.
They are eligible to register to vote and participate in all local, state, and federal elections. Note that individuals who are currently serving a prison sentence or on parole due to a felony conviction are temporarily ineligible to vote. However, once their incarceration and parole period are complete, they regain their voting rights.
Disqualification of a Convicted Person from Serving on a Jury
Individuals with felony convictions are generally disqualified from serving on a jury. California law prohibits individuals who have been convicted of a felony from serving as jurors. This disqualification applies regardless of whether the felony conviction resulted in a prison sentence, probation, or any other form of punishment.
The rationale behind this disqualification is rooted in concerns over impartiality, credibility, and public trust in the jury system. The law aims to ensure that jurors possess the highest degree of integrity, fairness, and adherence to the law. Consequently, individuals with felony convictions are typically excluded from serving on juries.
Can a Person With a Felony Conviction Serve in the Armed Forces?
The ability for a felon to serve in the armed forces depends on various factors, including the nature of the felony conviction and the policies of the military branches. Generally speaking, a felony conviction can present challenges when attempting to enlist in the armed forces, but it does not automatically disqualify an individual.
Each branch of the military has its own regulations and guidelines regarding the enlistment of individuals with criminal records. In some cases, certain felony convictions may be considered disqualifying factors for military service due to the potential impact on the individual’s trustworthiness, security clearance eligibility, or ability to perform specific duties. However, waivers may be available in certain situations, allowing individuals with felony convictions to seek enlistment.
The decision to grant a waiver is typically made on a case-by-case basis, taking into account factors such as the nature of the offense, the individual’s conduct since the conviction, evidence of rehabilitation, and the needs of the military branch. Note that while a felony conviction may not automatically prevent someone from serving in the armed forces, it can complicate the enlistment process and require additional steps, including obtaining a waiver and demonstrating good character and suitability for military service.
The Eligibility of a Convicted Person to Hold a Public Office
The eligibility of a felon to hold a public office depends on several factors, including the specific office sought and the nature of the felony conviction. In general, California law does not automatically disqualify convicted felons from holding public office. However, there are some limitations and restrictions to consider.
California law states that a person convicted of a felony involving a breach of public trust, such as corruption or bribery, is generally disqualified from holding any office of honor, trust, or profit in the State. This means that certain felony convictions related to public office or involving a violation of the public’s trust can be grounds for disqualification from holding a public office.
However, individuals with felony convictions that do not fall within these specific categories may still be eligible to hold public office. The decision on whether to allow a felon to hold a specific public office may depend on the discretion of the electorate, the specific office’s requirements and qualifications, and any additional restrictions imposed by local or state laws.
Note that eligibility for public office can also be subject to additional requirements, such as age, residency, citizenship, and voter registration. Additionally, individual offices may have their own specific qualifications and requirements.
How a Felony Conviction Can Affect Your Gun Rights
A felony conviction can have significant consequences on your gun rights. For instance, you will lose the right to own or possess a firearm or ammunition.
If a convicted felon is found in possession of a firearm or ammunition, they may face additional criminal charges and potentially harsher penalties. Possessing a firearm as a felon is considered a serious offense under California law.
Note that the loss of gun rights due to a felony conviction is generally permanent. However, there may be certain legal avenues available to restore gun rights in exceptional cases, such as obtaining a pardon from the Governor or pursuing a Certificate of Rehabilitation.
Is it Possible to Expunge a Felony Conviction?
It is possible to expunge a felony conviction under certain circumstances. Expungement is a legal process through which a person can petition the court to have their conviction set aside and the case dismissed. As a result, the criminal record is deleted and the person will not face the negative consequences emanating from the felony conviction.
In California, eligibility for felony expungement is generally determined by meeting the following criteria:
- Completion of sentence — The individual must have successfully completed their sentence, including probation, parole, or any other court-ordered requirements.
- Good conduct — The individual must have demonstrated good conduct and obeyed all laws since the conviction.
- Eligible offenses — Certain serious crimes, such as violent felonies or offenses that require sex offender registration, are generally not eligible for expungement.
Note that expungement is not an automatic process, and it requires filing a petition with the court. Consulting with an experienced attorney who specializes in criminal law is highly recommended to navigate the process effectively.
If the court grants the expungement petition, the conviction will be set aside, and a plea of ‘not guilty’ will replace the original guilty plea or verdict. Overall, expungement can offer individuals with felony convictions a fresh start by removing some of the barriers and disadvantages associated with a criminal record.
Find a Sacramento Expungement Attorney Near Me
A felony conviction can have profound and long-lasting consequences on an individual’s life. From restricted employment opportunities to limitations on professional licenses and civic rights, the impact of a felony record is significant and can lead to a perpetual cycle of disadvantage.
However, it is crucial to recognize that there is hope for those with a criminal record in the form of expungement. Expungement offers a chance for individuals to rebuild their lives, free from the burden of their past mistakes.
By sealing or erasing their criminal records, expungement provides an opportunity for individuals to overcome the barriers and stigmas associated with a felony conviction. It allows them to pursue new opportunities and regain their civic rights, and therefore, ultimately reintegrate into society as productive citizens.
If you are considering expungement, we invite you to contact us at Foos Gavin Law Firm in Sacramento for a free consultation. We will guide you through the intricate legal process, ensuring that your rights are protected. Call us today at 916-779-3500.