Do Felonies Stay On Your Record Forever?

Do Felonies Stay On Your Record Forever?

Have you ever been convicted of a felony? Do you know the impact it can have on your life and happiness? Many who have walked this part can tell you that it’s not rosy.

First is serving jail term once convicted, then, the other dreadful thing is living with the scar. But should anyone undergoing a felony conviction be concerned about these things?

Do felony records remain with an individual for life or goes away at some point? We will address these questions and more in this post. So sit tight and read to know more!

Do Felonies Stay On Your Record Forever?

Meaning of Felony Arrest Record

Before we talk about felony arrest records, let’s find out the meaning. Defining this term will make it straightforward to understand.

A felony arrest record is a detailed record made available to the public and everyone in need of them. It contains vital information about individuals convicted of various crimes.

This comprehensive record comes with all the information an organization, employer, or individual might ever need to conduct a thorough background check on a candidate. If the person had been convicted of a felony, the record would be in the arrest record database.

If you search for information about an individual, details you will happen to find are as follows;

  • Criminal records
  • Address records
  • Birthdate of the individual
  • Physical description
  • Crime type
  • Fingerprint data
  • Date of convictions or arrests
  • Known aliases imply other names the individual is using.
  • Mug shot – the picture that the agents took during the time of the arrest
  • Other previous arrest warrants the individual has

What you need to search for information about an individual is the person’s full name. Once you copy the name into the search box of the public record, the person’s details will surface. The search is online.

See also: Can Felons Get Welfare?

How criminal record works in the U.S

Criminal records belong to the government. They are taken care of by the court or law enforcement agency that created them.

That means if an individual were convicted in a court belonging to the state, that state court would be the only one in charge of the documentation process that has to do with the arrest.

These records are essential to the agency that handled the documentation process. They contain details about the crime committed and arrest made.

What about traffic convictions? Will there be criminal records?

But traffic convictions are not included in any way. That means if you were, maybe, arrested because you violated traffic rules, there is no need to panic.

The only thing you have to do is pay for the ticket. You won’t have any criminal records on your name unless something else happens

Criminal records are not there for record sake. They are stored and used by authorities in the state, local as well as federal levels for different purposes. Below are the various uses of criminal or felony records.

Uses of Felony Records

  • The court can use it to determine an individual’s sentence for a crime that the person committed at a different time. They can quickly retrieve the records to know if that person has had any criminal record.
  • Criminal or felony records are also used for background checks. Employers from an organization can go through the document to find out if someone they are looking to hire has any past criminal record.

Now, how is a criminal record collected? The first thing law enforcement agents do is to arrest the person that committed the crime.

Then the individual’s fingerprints are collected. He or she would then take a photograph with the evidence. Information collected will be kept in the same place the personal record is, including other details regarding the arrest made.

How records were stored in the past

In the past, criminal records were merely typed files or handwritten. They were also kept at police stations and pulled out when the need arises. However, this system has its downsides.

Information sharing was difficult, and individuals who commit a crime in one state can escape to another without the police or anyone finding out.

But now things have changed. No one can commit an offense in one state or country and escape to another without being caught. These records are now placed in a bigger computer database that is possible to access from any part of the world.

Ways Felony convictions can ruin you

Being convicted of a crime and kept in prison for years is understandable. But there are other ways that felony conviction can destroy one’s life. Here are simple facts.

1. Loss of employment

Some employers do not waste time to terminate the appointment of employees arrested because of a crime such as a felony.

Most times, the conviction might prove that the employee has moral issues, which is not a good thing for the company.

But even if one’s sacking is not because of the crime, the company might need to fill the spot left behind since he or she will remain in prison for a long time.

A legal battle can also make it difficult for the individual to concentrate. Companies might relieve such individuals of his or her duty.

2. No education

A felony conviction can affect your school. If an individual is yet to obtain a college degree before being convicted, doing so might be difficult.

Higher institutions usually ask for criminal conviction status when screening students. If you have been arrested for a felony, this might limit your chances of entering college.

Another thing is even if you end up joining the university, you might not find it easy to get financial assistance.

How long would a felony conviction remain on one’s record?

A felony record is not something one should have for long. So the sooner it leaves the better. But many are wondering if a felony would remain on an individual’s record for life. The simple answer to this question is yes, but it depends on some specific factors.

Now can you make your criminal record disappear?

The answer is yes. You can have your criminal record expunged which means to be removed or erased. Once this happens, the document will become inactive to the public.

But the government and law enforcement agencies can access it. You can even claim that you have no such record once expunged.

But have in mind that the rules for this to happen, differ from state to state. The presiding judge will also consider factors like;

  • If you have completed your sentence
  • Whether you were arrested or just convicted
  • The type of crime committed and other factors.


A felony conviction should be something everyone should avoid. It can negatively affect one’s career and life in general.

There are certain privileges you will lose when you get convicted of a crime. And as mentioned above, these felony records don’t just go away like that.

Even if deleted, the document remains. But in this case, only law enforcement agents and government officials can access them.


Leave a Comment