How Long Does A Felony Affect Employment?

How Long Does A Felony Affect Employment

Imagine finally finishing your prison sentence, eager to turn your life around and start anew. However, you quickly realize that the impact of your felony conviction extends far beyond the prison walls. Despite how hard you try, you still find yourself struggling to find employment due to your criminal record. 

A felony conviction can affect employment opportunities for life, as it remains on your criminal record indefinitely. However, there are ways to mitigate its effects, such as obtaining a pardon or expungement and seeking employers who are open to hiring individuals with criminal records.

This article discusses the long-term effects of felony convictions on employment and what you can do to mitigate them.

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How Long Does a Felony Stay on Record?

How Long Does a Felony Stays on Record?

In most states, a felony conviction may stay on your record for life. This can make it extra challenging to find employment and housing. It may even make it hard for you to obtain loans. 

Fortunately, there are states that allow for expungement or record sealing. You can request for them to help mitigate the long-term impact of a felony conviction.

Factors That Influence the Duration of a Felony on a Criminal Record

The following are some factors that can affect the length of time a felony offense can stay on your record:

The severity of your offense

The severity of the offense is a crucial factor in determining how long a felony stays on your criminal record. 

In general, the more severe your offenses are, the longer they’re likely to stay on your record.

The duration of a felony on a criminal record can also depend on the level of the offense. Felonies can be classified into different degrees. Yours will be classified based on the severity of the crime.

In most states, the duration of a felony on a criminal record increases with the degree of the offense.

There are also states that have specific laws that determine how long a specific felony offense will remain on an individual’s record. For example, in some states, drug offenses may have shorter sentences than other types of felonies.

Take note that the severity of the offense does not only affect the length of time a felony stays on your felony record but also has other consequences such as sentencing and parole eligibility.

For instance, an individual who commits a more severe offense may face a longer prison sentence and a more extended period of parole.

Therefore, the severity of your offense can significantly impact your life, including your employment opportunities, housing, and overall quality of life.

If you want to determine how your offense can stay on your criminal record, it’s best to talk to your criminal defense lawyer.

Length of the sentence


The duration of a felony on record can be tied to the length of the prison sentence, probation period, or parole period.

In general, a longer sentence means that a felony will remain on an individual’s criminal record for a longer period of time. 

Consider this:

A person sentenced to five years in prison may have a felony on their record for a shorter period of time than someone sentenced to twenty years.

The length of a sentence may also differ depending on the state, the type of felony offense, and other factors such as the individual’s criminal history.

For example, some states have mandatory minimum sentences for certain felony offenses, and this can affect how long they’ll start on an individual’s criminal record.

Additionally, if an individual violates the terms of their probation or parole, their sentence may be extended. This can further prolong the duration of the felony on their criminal record.

Age of the individual

Whether the individual was a minor at the time of the conviction can also affect how long a felony stays on their record.

Juvenile offenders, for example, may be able to have their records sealed or expunged after a certain amount of time or if they complete a rehabilitation program. However, this varies by state and the severity of the offense.

State laws


Some states have laws that allow certain types of felonies to be expunged or sealed from an individual’s criminal record after a specific period.

In other states, however, expungement or sealing of criminal records may not be allowed or may only be possible for certain types of offenses.

There are also states that implement “three-strikes” laws that mandate longer sentences for repeat offenders, which can significantly impact the duration of a felony on an individual’s criminal record.

State laws and federal law can also impact the ability of an individual with arrest records to secure employment or obtain professional licenses.

Some states have laws that prohibit certain employers from hiring individuals with certain types of felony convictions. 

How Does a Felony Conviction Affect Future Employment Opportunities?


Employer bias against hiring felons can be a significant barrier to finding employment.

Many employers believe that individuals with criminal convictions are not trustworthy or have the tendency to do something wrong because of their past criminal behavior. Others may be concerned about potential legal issues. 

This is one of the reasons why a lot of them do a criminal background check as part of their job application process. Some of them even hire background check companies to find criminal records. 

Legal restrictions on certain occupations can also impact employment opportunities for those convicted of a felony.

In many states, felons are prohibited from working in certain industries. This may include education, healthcare, and law enforcement.

The Impact of Expungement or Record Sealing On The Duration of A Felony Record


Expungement or record sealing can have a significant impact on the duration of a felony record.

Expungement is a legal process that involves the removal of criminal records from public view, while record sealing involves restricting access to criminal records.

Depending on your state, you may be eligible for either of the two. The following may consider you eligible:

  • Completing probation or parole
  • Paying fines or restitution
  • Maintaining a clean criminal record for a certain period

If an individual’s felony record or criminal past is expunged, it is as if the conviction never happened. The record is completely destroyed or deleted from public records. 

On the other hand, record sealing involves limiting access to the criminal record. Certain individuals or agencies, such as your potential employers or landlords, may not be able to see the criminal backgrounds of applicants.

Expungement or record sealing can have a positive impact on an individual’s life, including employment opportunities.

If you are clear in your criminal background check, you’ll be able to apply for jobs even without disclosing your criminal history. This can increase your chances of getting hired.

In Conclusion

A felony conviction can have a significant and long-lasting impact on your job search

A felony conviction can have a significant and long-lasting impact on your job search. The duration of a felony record varies by state, but in most cases, it stays on an individual’s record for life.

Expungement or record sealing can help mitigate the impact, but it is not available in all states. 

The challenges of finding employment with a criminal record and legal restrictions on certain occupations can make it difficult for individuals to rebuild their lives after serving their sentence. 

Encouraging employers to consider the skills and qualifications of individuals with convictions during the hiring process, and providing more rehabilitation and training programs.

It can help reduce the long-term impact of a felony conviction on employment prospects.

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