To say that a felony conviction will change your life is putting it mildly. You may serve your time, pay your fine and fulfill your debt to society, but you will find that some circumstances will never let you forget that you have a conviction on your record, especially when it comes to finding meaningful employment.
When Nebraska voted to "ban the box," you may have thought troubles were over for those with felony convictions on their records. However, even though you no longer have to check the box to indicate you have a felony conviction, this doesn't mean your past is not going to affect your chances for the job.
The doors that may close on you
If you have the minimum qualifications and pass an interview, your future employer will order a background check on you. Some job coaches recommend that candidates be straightforward with the interviewer about the conviction so they have a chance to explain the steps they have taken toward rehabilitation. However, in certain industries, even this will likely make little difference, for example:
- A job in the Nebraska educational systems may be out of reach, especially if your conviction relates to crimes of violence, drugs or crimes against children. You may not even qualify for a teaching license with a felony conviction.
- Daycare providers must answer to parents, so they are not often willing to hire someone who does not have a spotless background.
- Licensing in the medical profession is strict, and certain convictions may paint you as a risk or danger to patients.
- Even at the local level, most law enforcement agencies are looking for candidates who do not have a criminal past.
- If your conviction resulted from allegations that you committed fraud, theft or offenses that place your integrity in question, the world of finance is not likely to make a place for you.
- Government positions at all levels rely on taxes to pay their salaries, and the taxpayers are not always keen about having a felon on the government payroll.
It may seem your best hope is in retail. However, even a retail job may be difficult to get since you may be handling money or merchandise. Additionally, a conviction on your record will not help your application shine over the many other qualified candidates.
Perhaps the best way to keep your job prospects open is to avoid having the conviction on your record. Facing criminal charges with the assistance and advocacy of a skilled attorney may result in a more positive outcome and an optimistic future.