When you think about the consequences of a criminal conviction, you may first think of fines, probation, or jail time. While these penalties are certainly serious, it’s also important to consider all of the other ways a conviction could potentially change your life. While these can vary depending on the type of charge and its severity, one common consequence of a criminal conviction is the loss of employment opportunities.
Whether you are on a specific career path or just trying to pay the bills, a conviction—or even a charge—can make your professional life difficult in the following ways.
- Missing work – Criminal cases take time, and courts do not make accommodations for the work schedules of defendants. If your court hearing is scheduled for 10 a.m. on a workday, you will usually have to miss work. Since cases can drag on and involve many court appearances, you may have to request a lot of time off, and that may put your job in jeopardy. In addition, if your sentence includes imprisonment, chances are you may lose your job during your time behind bars.
- Loss of your driver’s license – If you are convicted of driving under the influence—or were arrested after the refusal of a breath test—you can lose your driver’s license for a period of time. This can make transportation to and from work difficult, which may affect your attendance. Furthermore, if your job requires you to drive, you can’t perform the required duties and may be let go. This is especially true for commercial drivers who lose their commercial driver’s license (CDL) and can’t drive trucks for an extended time.
- Background checks – When you apply for a new job, many employers conduct background checks that include a review of your criminal record. Depending on the policies of that particular company, a conviction may disqualify you from the position. This is especially true for people with theft or white collar convictions who apply for financial positions, or for people with domestic violence convictions who apply for caretaking jobs. In addition, sex-related offenses can disqualify you from working where you may be in contact with children. The stigma of these convictions may keep any employers from wanting to hire you.
- Professional licenses – If your career requires a professional license—for example, for nurses, lawyers, doctors, and accountant—the state licensing board will almost certainly consider any criminal convictions when determining whether to grant a license. In addition, even if you already have a license, when the licensing board learns of a conviction, it may suspend or even completely revoke it for serious offenses. This can prohibit you from earning a living in your chosen profession.
Employment challenges can create struggles in many other aspects of your life. You may not be able to pay your bills or support your family. If you lose your job and are having trouble finding a new one, you may not be able to pay required court costs or probation fees, and you may face further court action. An experienced criminal defense lawyer can help you avoid conviction and its effects on your employment whenever possible.
If you already have a conviction on your record that is making it hard to find a job, you may be able to have your record expunged (i.e. receive a pardon) to eliminate the problem. Even if your record isn’t completely expunged, you may be able to receive a certificate of employability, which prevents employers from using a conviction as the basis for employment decisions.
Don’t Wait to Call a Connecticut Criminal Defense Law Firm for Help
Whether you are facing criminal charges or want to discuss the possibility of an expungement of your existing record, please don’t hesitate to call the experienced criminal defense attorneys at Koffsky & Felsen, LLC. We will do everything we can to receive the most favorable results possible for you, so please call us at (203) 327-1500 for a discussion, or contact us online today.