Life Goes On: How to Continue Your Life after a Felony Conviction
Living with a felony conviction isn’t easy, but that doesn’t mean that you should throw in the towel and give up on life. A criminal record may limit your options, but it’s important to realize that most people are forgiving and willing to help someone that works hard to leave a questionable past behind. Sure, living with a criminal record is tough, but it should never be used as an excuse for failing to build a strong future.
When someone is arrested for a felony, they should take their legal defense seriously. A felony conviction is much more serious than a misdemeanor offense. For one thing, there’s a good chance that a felony conviction will land you in jail. A felony defendant can also be required to pay a substantial fine, but the lingering effects of a criminal conviction are likely to be felt long after an offender has been released from jail and paid the fine.
It’s hard to know for sure when and how a felony conviction will rear its ugly head. Sometimes an offender has to deal with unforgiving friends or family members, but time tends to heal most wounds. Make every effort to be patient, understanding and above all, honest to a fault.
Legal Consequences of a Felony
Depending on the nature of your criminal conviction and your goals in life, it may be easier than you think to live a normal life. A felony defendant may have to live with one of the following consequences:
- Loss of voting privileges
- Inability to seek public office
- Inability to own a firearm
- Ineligibility for certain kinds of employment, housing and education programs
It’s true. If you were convicted of a sexual offense, you probably won’t be allowed to work in the public education system. A white collar criminal record is likely to eliminate a banking career or a position working as a salesperson in a retail establishment. It’s standard practice for businesses to require background checks these days. Even the employment application requires applicants to reveal the details of previous criminal activity.
Moreover, every criminal offense is entered into one or more local and national data bases. Unlike traffic violations and other minor offenses, felony convictions have a way of sticking around. Once a reasonable amount of time has passed and you have compiled a record as a contributing member of society, it may be possible to have your criminal record expunged. Although expungement doesn’t remove a felony conviction from government data bases, having a criminal record sealed does expand employment opportunities.
If you think a presiding judge would be impressed by the life you’ve led since compiling a criminal record, the possibility of expunging a previous felony conviction should be discussed with a knowledgeable attorney. Crimes such as sexual offenses, DWI violations and aggravated assaults may not be eligible for expungement.