The Impact of a Criminal Conviction on Future Employment

At SHElaw firm®, we understand that facing criminal charges can be a terrifying and uncertain experience. Beyond the immediate legal consequences, many people worry about the long-term impact a criminal conviction could have on their future, particularly their employment prospects.

This blog post will explore the potential consequences of a criminal conviction on your ability to find and keep a job. If you or a loved one has been charged with a crime, call our offices today to schedule a consultation with our experienced and skilled Atlanta criminal defense lawyers at 470-378-1162.

How Can a Criminal Conviction Impact Future Employment?

It’s important to remember that every situation is unique, and the impact of a conviction will vary depending on several factors:

  • Severity of the Offense: Felony convictions generally carry a greater weight than misdemeanors when it comes to employability. However, even some misdemeanors, particularly those involving dishonesty or violence, can raise red flags for employers.
  • Job Specificity: The type of job you’re applying for can significantly influence how an employer views a criminal conviction. Jobs in finance, healthcare, or education may have stricter requirements and conduct more thorough background checks. Conversely, blue-collar jobs or positions in startup environments might be more forgiving. Some federal government jobs are available to ex-offenders.
  • Employer’s Policies: Some companies have clear policies regarding hiring individuals with criminal records. These policies may outline specific offenses that automatically disqualify applicants or establish a time frame after which convictions become less relevant.

The Potential Roadblocks

Understanding these factors can help you anticipate the potential roadblocks a criminal conviction can create:

Background Checks

Pre-employment background checks are a standard practice in many industries. These checks can reveal any criminal convictions you may have, including arrests that didn’t result in a conviction. Depending on the nature of the offense, a conviction could raise red flags for a potential employer, leading to disqualification from the position, even if you’re the most qualified candidate.

Licensing Restrictions

Certain professions, such as nursing, law, or real estate, require licenses or certifications. A criminal conviction could jeopardize your ability to obtain or maintain a professional license, effectively barring you from working in your chosen field entirely.

Employer Bias

Unfortunately, some employers may hold unconscious biases against individuals with criminal convictions. This bias can manifest in overlooking your resume during the initial screening process or opting for another candidate with a clean record, even if your qualifications are superior.

Image is of a paper application for a background check, concept of the impact of a criminal conviction on future employment.

Protecting Your Future: What You Can Do

While a criminal conviction can present challenges, it doesn’t have to define your future. There are several ways to lessen the issues that may arise after a conviction.

Here are some proactive steps you can take to mitigate the impact on your employment prospects:

Fight the Charges

If you believe the charges against you are unfair or inaccurate, it’s crucial to fight them vigorously. SHElaw firm’s® experienced criminal defense attorneys in Atlanta can advocate for you in court and explore all possible defense strategies.

A strong defense could result in a dismissal of charges, a reduction to a lesser offense, or even a pre-trial diversion program that avoids a conviction altogether. Each of these outcomes can significantly improve your employment prospects.

Seek Expungement or Record Restriction

Depending on the circumstances of your case and the laws in Georgia, you may be eligible to have your criminal record expunged (sealed) or restricted. An expunged record is essentially erased and cannot be accessed by most employers during background checks. Record restriction limits who can see your criminal history, making it less likely to impact your job search.

Be Honest and Upfront

If you are asked about your criminal history during a job application, be honest and upfront. However, you don’t have to elaborate on the details of the offense. Focus on your qualifications, the skills and experience you bring to the table, and how you’ve grown and learned from the past. You can also explain that you’re actively working to clear your record through expungement or record restriction.

Highlight Your Rehabilitation Efforts

Have you completed community service, taken educational courses, or participated in substance abuse treatment programs? Highlighting these efforts during your job search demonstrates your commitment to positive change and can reassure potential employers of your trustworthiness.

Network and Build Relationships

Focus on building relationships within your industry. Attending industry events, volunteering in your field, or connecting with professionals on LinkedIn can open doors to opportunities where your skills and experience are valued, and your background may be less of a focus.

SHElaw firm®: Your Trusted Criminal Defense Lawyer in Atlanta

At SHElaw firm®, we understand the complexities of criminal law and the potential consequences a conviction can have on your life, including your ability to find and maintain employment. Our dedicated team of Atlanta criminal defense attorneys is committed to protecting your rights and future.

We will work tirelessly to develop a strong defense strategy and explore all legal options available to you, including fighting the charges, negotiating plea bargains, and pursuing expungement or record restriction.

Don’t let a criminal charge hold you back from achieving your career goals. Contact SHElaw firm® today at 470-378-1162 for a free consultation. We’ll stand by your side and fight for a positive outcome in your case, helping you navigate the legal process and pave the way for a brighter future.