Criminal convictions are often accompanied by court-imposed penalties including probation, community service, fines, time in jail or prison, substance abuse treatment, and more. While these penalties can be difficult to face on their own, many criminal convictions may have a lasting adverse effect on many aspects of your life for many years after you finish your court sentence. Specifically, many convicted offenders find that their jobs and future professional opportunities are significantly compromised due to their criminal conviction. The following are only some examples of how a conviction can affect you professional life.
Losing your driver’s license
Following a conviction for driving under the influence (DUI), multiple traffic violations, or a particularly serious traffic offense, many individuals may lose their driving privileges for a certain amount of time. A driver’s license suspension or revocation can make it significantly more challenging for many people to get to work, school, or other important appointments and obligations because they must find alternate forms of transportation. In addition, however, many people may hold jobs that require them to operate a vehicle and, therefore, hold a valid license to do so. If you lose your license, you risk losing your job and not qualifying for jobs in a similar field.
Pennsylvania law allows employers to perform background checks and to use convictions found on a criminal record to make hiring decisions in certain situations. If you have a felony or even a misdemeanor conviction on your record, an employer may decide not to hire you based on that information alone.
In addition to prospective employers, state professional licensing boards may also use past criminal convictions in order to decide whether to approve your application for a professional license. Additionally, if you receive a conviction, a licensing board may suspend or even completely revoke a license you already held. Some examples of professionals who may be affected by a conviction in this manner include:
Being denied or losing a professional license can prohibit you from working in your chosen profession, even if you went to school for a long time to prepare for this profession. You may be left with extensive student debt and no way to earn a living in your chosen career.
Crimes of moral turpitude
A “crime of moral turpitude” is an offense that is considered to involve fraud, dishonesty, or the type of behavior that is meant to harm others. Only some examples of these types of offenses include:
- Theft crimes
- Hit and run
- Murder or attempted murder
- Domestic abuse
- Child abuse
- Sexual offenses
Having a conviction for any of these offenses—whether relatively serious or minor—can lead an employer to believe that you are untrustworthy or of antisocial character and, as such, not an ideal employee.
Sex offender registry
Individuals convicted by one or more of a long list of sexually-related criminal offenses may be required to register with the state as a sex offender. Your personal information as well as your convictions will then be made available for any member of the public to see on the online Pennsylvania sex offender registry, also known as the “Megan’s Law Website.” Finding out this information is as simple as a quick search and also includes an offender’s employment address. Not only may a company be wary to employ a registered sex offender, but it likely does not want its address on the sex offender website out of fear that it may deter customers. Therefore, such convictions may lead to termination or refusals to hire.
In addition, sex offender registration also comes with restrictions on where you can work. This generally includes schools, child care centers, and similar institutions, as well as certain locations within the vicinity of a school.
Contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Philadelphia for help today
Any type of criminal conviction has the potential to affect your professional opportunities and your ability to adequately support yourself and your family. For this reason and more, it is always best to fight to avoid a conviction altogether. Experienced criminal defense attorney Brian Zeiger knows how to defend against wrongful charges and also how to explore other options, such as diversionary programs, that may help you avoid conviction. Please call the Zeiger Firm today at 215-546-0340 for help.