• Dennis McCaslin

The Fate of a Felon: Criminal convictions can -- and will -- haunt you for the rest of your life

Your public record is an extremely important part of your livelihood in many ways. Every time you have some sort of a public affair, such as changing your name, getting married, or even get a traffic ticket, it is notated in the public record.

Your criminal history is also a part of this record, and arguably the most important one. Whenever you are convicted of a crime, your action and sentence are noted and remain there for the rest of your life.

When this is the case, even though you may have served your sentence, your debt to society may continue.

Consider some of the lasting consequences of having an entry in your criminal history...

A criminal background check is about as commonplace a part of any job application and as your name and contact information these days.

Nobody wants to hire someone who has a history of problems in the industry they're working for, so employers protect themselves by making sure those they select to work for them are as low-risk as possible.

Any criminal history could present a substantially higher risk of being denied employment.

In addition, convicted felons are often barred from owning or working for any businesses that might put them in contact with minor children on an unsupervised basis, especially if their crimes were sex related.

Sometimes those looking to obtain something as commonplace as a commercial driver's license will find their applications rejected if they have any history of drug or alcohol-related offenses, especially a DUI.

Most felonies will disqualify you from ever obtaining a passport.

As a felon, you could struggle to find a place to live if you have a criminal conviction in your history. Apartment complexes and mortgage lenders are now looking at criminal histories to determine who is trustworthy enough.

Apartment complexes are frequently turning down those with drug-related offenses mainly because they don't want any risk of having the police raid their home to make an arrest and seize evidence.

Lenders will often look for any previous criminal history to determine whether or not you'll make your payments on time, or if they'll have to go chase you down or foreclose your property to recover their investment.

Those who are convicted of a felony crime will lose several of their rights as well. For one, felons are by law prohibited from owning a firearm, and those to be found in possession face stuff criminal penalties, including being sent back to prison.

You also won't have the ability to vote in any election, be it federal, state, or local.

Convicted felons are also usually forbidden from holding any form of public office, including law enforcement or even firefighting jobs.

Those who commit crimes usually don't think beyond the possibility of a prison sentence being their punishment for their crimes, but the truth is a felony will haunt you--personally and professionally--for decades after your conviction.

Obviously, those long range consequences may not be a consideration to those predisposed to criminal behavior in the heat of the moment.

But the long term consequences are very real.

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