What Happens After You Are Convicted of a Felony
It’s undeniable that the word “felon” carries serious negative associations, and that “felony” is consistently the word that springs to mind when we think of long jail terms and hardened criminals. But just because an individual is a convicted felon doesn’t mean their personal and professional lives have to come to a stand-still. There are certainly challenges for convicted felons, but there are ways to overcome those challenges. If you or someone you know has been convicted of a felony in Pennsylvania, contact our skilled criminal defense lawyers today.
How Are Felonies Categorized in Pennsylvania?
Felonies are graded by degrees. The degree assigned to a particular felony depends on the severity and nature of the crime. The three major types of felony crimes in Pennsylvania are First Degree, Second Degree, and Third Degree. First Degree Felonies include crimes like rape, kidnapping, and arson. Second Degree Felonies include burglary and statutory rape. Third Degree Felonies include offenses such as making terrorist threats or sexual assault of a minor. Charges like murder and manslaughter contain a gradient of degrees, with First always being the most serious.
The punishments for felonies are more or less severe in accordance with the legally assigned degree. For example, a Third Degree Felony might incur a sentence of seven years in prison, while a Second Degree Felony might result in ten years. Jail sentences may be substituted for or bolstered with hefty fines.
How a Felony Conviction Affects Employment
After a felony conviction, an individual may notice changes to their life particularly in the arena of employment. Many job applications include a check-box for disclosure of previous felon offenses, and many hiring procedures include a background check which will uncover convictions and jail time. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) offers some protections for ex-felons: for example, employers who do not hire ex-felons with minority backgrounds might find themselves in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. However, an ex-felon whose crimes revolve heavily around the nature of the job they’re applying for (e.g. a sex offender applying for a teaching position) is highly likely to be denied the position.
The Expungement Process in Pennsylvania
Expungement may be a viable recourse for certain individuals, though it is a multi-tiered and somewhat restrictive process. Certain crimes are ineligible for expungement, and anyone actually convicted of a felony cannot, unfortunately, expunge the offense from their record. 18 Pa. CSA Section 9122(b) clearly states that: “(b) Generally.–Criminal history record information may be expunged when: an individual who is the subject of the information reaches 70 years of age and has been free of arrest or prosecution for ten years following final release from confinement or supervision; or an individual who is the subject of the information has been dead for three years.”
Pennsylvania Criminal Defense Attorneys Offering Free Consultations
If you have been convicted of a felony and want to explore your legal options for moving forward, contact the knowledgeable attorneys at Young, Marr, Mallis & Associates now. Don’t wait to get your future back on track: call (609) 755-3115 in New Jersey or (215) 701-6519 in Pennsylvania.