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A felony arrest is something that needs to be taken very seriously, as the consequences of your conviction will be more severe than that of a misdemeanor offense. While the penalties vary for every crime, those who are convicted will spend at least one year behind bars, and be required to pay hefty fines, among other consequences. However, just because you have a felony conviction, does not mean that the rest of your life will be forever ruined. Though carrying the weight of a felony conviction will not be easy, as there will be various obstacles that you may face throughout the years after your time in prison. It is likely that you will feel the weight of your actions from the public and your peers, perhaps even your family. While this may be a difficult period of life, that is not to say getting by is impossible and with hard work and determination you may live a normal life following your felony conviction.
Consequences of a felony conviction vary according to the offense you were charged with, and will likely affect years much after your initial prison sentencing. Depending on the state you live in, ex-convicts may be permanently stripped of their right to vote or from holding a public office position. Another possibility for felons is that they may never be able to work in a federal place of employment such as the U.S. Post Office, or for various private sector companies. If you were convicted of a white collar criminal offense, for example, you may never be allowed to work for a place that handles money such as a bank. Or, if you were accused of a sexual crime, you will likely not be able to work as a teacher or in another child care position.
Though continuing life after a conviction is indeed possible, it is important that you realize your conviction once entered into the database is something that will be with your record forever. While traffic tickets will eventually disappear from your record if you go to traffic school, pay your dues, etc.; a felony conviction is something you will have with you indefinitely. Your name will likely be entered into multiple databases ranging from the jurisdiction where you were sentenced to the FBI database or with the National Crime Information Center. In many situations, it is often the penalties after the felony conviction that affects the person more than the prison sentencing itself. For example, a sex offender may only receive a fine and 2 years in prison, and yet over the course of the next 25 years to life, they will be registered as a sex offender. Depending on the state in which they live, will determine the eligibility they will have for certain jobs, and work positions, housing, etc.
All hope is not lost, however. Under certain circumstances those convicted of a felony crime may be able to have their record expunged. While your record can never be fully erased from the eyes of the government, they can approve to have your record sealed and protected, which may allow for greater job opportunities in the future. This process is not something that will be approved the year following your prison sentence, though. When you seek to clear your criminal record, the judge will take into account many factors including a clean record for a significant number of years, or if your actions were committed when you were a juvenile and you were prosecuted as an adult. They will also weigh how much of a risk they believe you to be to the public, and whether concealing your past record is going to place other people in danger. If you are then approved by the court to have your record concealed, your freedoms will grow in regards to job eligibility, housing, and in other areas.
It is important to realize that while many crimes are eligible for expungement, there are certain offenses that are not. If you were convicted of a DWI offense, aggravated assault or a sex crime, for example, then you will be required to reap the consequences of those offenses indefinitely. It is for this very reason that hiring a skilled and aggressive Minneapolis criminal defense lawyer is so vital to your future, in order to prevent you having to pay for your actions even decades after the conviction.