Getting charged with a felony has both immediate and long-term consequences. Most people focus only on the impending fines, prison sentences and parole without thinking about the future.
Though many felons serve their time and seek a fresh start, the consequences of felony convictions often follow for life.
Difficulties getting jobs
Many business owners have prospective employees complete questionnaires before employment. Often, these forms ask prospective employees if they have been convicted of a crime. People must answer honestly, and it is a business owner’s right to deny employment based on the answer. If job applicants do not answer truthfully and the business later finds out the employees lied, the workers may get terminated for falsifying records.
Challenges obtaining housing
A felony record shows up on background checks run by apartment managers, landlords and government housing. While the Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination, it does not prevent landlords from denying rental approval due to previous felony convictions. Additionally, obtaining government housing assistance may not be available to felons convicted of certain crimes.
Restrictions on child custody
When a parent has a felony record or commits a felony after the courts have awarded child custody, that arrangement may change. Judges have the discretion to decide if criminal records prevent parents from having custody. Some extreme crimes are an automatic disqualification from having any custody of children.
While felons can seek expungement of their felony records, the process is time-consuming and not always successful. Understanding the life-long consequences of felony convictions should encourage people to avoid participating in illegal activities.