Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Life After a Conviction

After you are convicted of a crime, you will wonder whether you will be able to find employment. In this economy, that is a VERY important concern.
As times get tougher, employers are more and more concerned about whether applicants have criminal records. The concern stems not from the assumption that ex-cons are inherently bad, but because of huge jury awards that have been rendered against employers for negligently hiring people with criminal histories who subsequently caused harm to others while on the job.
Understand where the employer is coming from. It has to balance its legal and ethical obligations to you, to its employees and to the public.
Another concern for employers relates to whether they will have to disclose the criminal conviction. For example, if a company is trying to attract investors, it may need to make certain disclosures first. Will the company have to disclose that an employee has a criminal conviction for embezzlement or money laundering?

The Double-Edge Sword
On the one hand, it is in the public interest to have those who have been convicted, regardless of whether they ever went to jail, find and hold gainful employment. A routine schedule and regular income lessen the likelihood that a person will reoffend, but a person with a criminal record may face prejudice in the job application process. On the other hand, it is important to protect the public from contact with prior offenders who may have propensities to re-commit. For example, convicted sex offenders should not work with children or vulnerable adults.

How Much to Reveal
Depending on the state, an applicant may not have to reveal any or some types of potentially damaging information, such as arrests not resulting in convictions or convictions for minor matters. Some states have procedures to judicially “erase” a criminal record. A criminal defense attorney can help determine whether you may be eligible to get a conviction sealed, expunged or otherwise legally minimized.

Tips for Workplace Re-entry
Be honest! Employers are interested in employees they can trust, and almost all information on a job application can be checked and verified. Even if it may close the door to certain positions, telling the truth is the best way to get a job that the applicant can keep over the long haul. Remember, in some states not all convictions must be revealed nor can potential employers ask for certain information.

Start the job search with family, friends and acquaintances that may be more likely to
take a chance on hiring someone they know, despite a criminal record.

Do not expect the first job after a conviction to be your ideal job. It is more important to get started somewhere and create a track record, since employers know that a good indicator of future job performance is past job performance. Consider temporary or entry-level positions to build your résumé.
Investigate employment services. Most states have public agencies that administer programs to help people find employment, sometimes specifically designed for those with criminal histories.
Refrain from alcohol and drug use. Some employers require employee drug testing.

Consider the nature of your past offense. Apply for jobs where that kind of offense is less likely to be an issue of concern.

Completing a jail or prison term, doing probation, or paying a fine can be just part of the price of a criminal conviction. The conviction can also affect post-conviction employment opportunities, but some employers are willing to give those with criminal records chances in appropriate circumstances. One job - any job - can be the first step toward rebuilding a career and a life.
A lawyer at The Law Office of David J. Givot will always consider the future when dealing with present charges.

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