A felony conviction can have negative consequences on a person’s life for many years. The most significant challenge comes in finding a job after a felony conviction.
Felons wonder if anyone will hire them. This blog post will address the issue of where felons can work.
- Felony Convictions
- Effects of a Felony Conviction on a Career
- Careers That May Be Challenging to Enter
- Careers That May Be Easier to Enter
- How to Deal with a Felony Offense on a Job Application
- Making a Case for Employment
A felony is a serious criminal offense involving a sentence of at least one year in prison. There are two categories of felonies: nonviolent and violent. The consequences for either type of felony conviction are similar, including:
- Prison time
- Probation or parole
- Fines or restitution
- Job loss
- Loss of civil rights like voting or owning a gun
- Damage to someone’s reputation
A nonviolent felony doesn’t involve the use or threat of force or inflicting injury on a victim. Any damage caused by a nonviolent felony is nonphysical, such as financial or property damage. Many nonviolent felonies are called victimless crimes.
Common nonviolent felonies include:
- White collar crimes
- Property crimes
- Drug or alcohol crimes
- Cyber crimes
- Drug possession and distribution
A violent felony is defined as “any crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year that has as an element the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against another person, or is… involving conduct that presents a serious potential risk of physical injury to another person.”
Violent felonies are prosecuted more vigorously and typically carry more severe penalties than a nonviolent crime. They’re often referred to as crimes against a person because they involve direct and substantial physical harm to a victim. Finding a lawyer will be crucial in any of these circumstances.
Common violent felonies include:
- First or second degree murder
- Attempted murder
- Voluntary manslaughter
- Involuntary manslaughter
- Domestic violence
- Causing bodily injury while evading the police
- Robbery using force such as a weapon
There are some major types of felonies that occur frequently and have drastic consequences for a felon involving often lengthy prison sentences. These are drug offenses and sex crimes.
Possession of drugs can lead to serious legal charges. Possessing drugs with the intent to distribute is an even more serious offence. Drug possession and drug distribution offenses involve drugs like:
- Illegally-used prescription drugs
A sex offender is a person who has been convicted of certain criminal sex offenses, including:
- Sexual conduct with a minor
- Sexual assault
- Molestation of the child
- Indecent exposure
- Sexual exploitation of a minor
- Kidnapping, aggravated assault, murder, unlawful imprisonment, and burglary when there is a sexual motivation
Even after the terms of a felony sentence for any category of crime have been completed, there will still be a criminal record for the remainder of a person’s life.
Typically, a misdemeanor conviction will remain on someone’s record for three years before it can be expunged. A felony conviction will be available to the public for at least five years before it can be removed from their record.
Effects of a Felony Conviction on a Career
A felony conviction will not absolutely prevent someone from finding a job, but it certainly makes it much more difficult. Employers are already reluctant to hire anyone with a criminal record.
One of the difficulties in being hired for a position with any type of conviction is that an employer often tends to see all crimes as being of equal severity. With any offense, many employers have the view that a felon is dangerous regardless of the type of crime and not to be trusted in the workplace. Of course, if it is a violent crime, the fear factor becomes even greater.
There will be drastic effects on job opportunities for a felon with a felony offense. There are a number of reasons why it is challenging to get a job with a felony conviction.
Prospective employers will usually ask about a criminal record and conduct a background investigation because they want to hire someone they can trust. An employer will review someone’s criminal record to determine if the type of crime involved in the conviction has any bearing on the particular job position.
Careers That May Be Challenging to Enter
Felony offenses can have drastic effects on someone’s career as many professions require certification, licensing, or registration with a governing board. This can lead to suspending or revoking someone’s ability to practice their profession in a given state.
A violent criminal history can prevent federal employment in certain jobs. Some Office of Personnel Management regulations prohibit those with even misdemeanor domestic violence convictions from working in a position that involves any close contact with firearms or ammunition.
Most state laws do not specifically prohibit registered sex offenders from holding certain occupations. However, licensing agencies may deny professional licenses to sex offenders in certain occupations. For sex offenders, this may include:
- Daycare operator
A drug offense can create difficulties for a felon to enter many professions. The Department of Health in each state may limit licensing for drug offenders:
- Physician’s assistants
- Dental assistants
Careers That May Be Easier to Enter
It’s easy to become frustrated and discouraged when applying for jobs even under the best circumstances. Having a felony conviction only makes this even more challenging.
However, there are a number of industries in which a felon can find work. Having some education and training specific to that field will improve someone’s chances of finding employment with a felony conviction.
A felon can pursue any degree he or she wants. Although 60% of colleges consider criminal history in their admissions process, there is no standard policy regarding a background check. Any felon that wants to get a degree can find a college that will accept him or her.
There are a number of truck driving jobs available with companies that are willing to hire felons. It’s generally recommended to obtain a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) before applying. This is required for most truck driving jobs.
There’s a variety of opportunities in the construction industry for felons. Many smaller companies are willing to allow a felon to demonstrate his or her skills in a particular trade within the construction field.
There are a number of trades within the construction industry, including:
Many restaurants, especially fast food establishments, hire felons. Some of these include:
- Taco Bell
Temp agencies are another option for felons. Since they work with a variety of employers, it’s easier to find an employer that’s willing to give a felon an opportunity. Temporary positions can become permanent in some cases, so a felon should always work hard when given a chance to work somewhere.
There are many opportunities for felons who want to start their own business. Being an independent contractor can offer those with a felony offense a chance to work for themselves and utilize their skills more fully.
How to Deal with a Felony Offense on a Job Application
Many states allow felony convictions to be expunged from a record. If this is available, it would certainly be helpful to clean up one’s criminal record. The report from the court where the charges were filed can be helpful. Checking with county, state, and federal courts is recommended.
When applying for a job, any questions about criminal convictions need to be answered truthfully. A felon may be automatically disqualified if there is a lie that is discovered by a potential employer. If the question only asks about felonies, misdemeanors don’t have to be disclosed.
Making a Case for Employment
In an interview, specific information regarding a criminal record should be clearly stated to a potential employer using these tips:
- Briefly describe what happened and accept responsibility
- Explain what a person did while incarcerated to better him or herself
- Show what someone is doing now to move past the conviction
- Demonstrate having learned from one’s mistake
Making mistakes is part of life. Showing that a felon is qualified for the position and honest will give him or her the best chance at finding employment. After all, felons do make good employees.
What do you think about this blog post? Have you or someone you know been in the situation of trying to get hired with a felony conviction on your record? What was that like for him or her, and how did he or she achieve success? Please tell us in the comments below.