You're facing felony charges. It's a day you never hoped would come, and it's gotten you thinking about the future. If you're convicted, how is it going to change the rest of your life? How long is that felony going to remain on your record?
Felonies Are Permanent
A felony is a very serious charge with strict ramifications. It could lead to prison time and heavy fines, depending on the nature of the crime and the sentence you're given. In any case, it's serious enough that a felony stays on your record for the rest of your life. It does not expire and it is never automatically erased.
What If You Serve Your Time?
Say you're sentenced to 15 years in jail. You get out after 10 on good behavior. That's a positive step for the rest of your life, but it doesn't erase the felony. Even after you've paid all fines and done any jail time, community service, probation and whatever else was ordered, the felony remains.
What Does That Record Mean for Your Life?
It all depends. Employers may run background checks, so you could find it hard to get a job. You often won't be allowed to possess a firearm, even for hunting or other activities you may have enjoyed before. This can also eliminate any career path that includes firearms, like being a security guard. Others who may run background checks include banks, landlords and law enforcement agencies.
Can Expungement Help?
Possibly. When you have your record expunged, it is then sealed so it doesn't show up on many background checks. However, expungement laws are set at the state level. Depending on your specific charges, you may not be eligible. For instance, serious convictions like violent felonies aren't allowed to be expunged in some states.
The ramifications of a felony conviction are enormous. Make sure you know your defense options and your legal rights.
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