While people know that receiving a conviction is serious, they may think it is preferable to have a misdemeanor on their record. However, a misdemeanor conviction can have far-reaching consequences. In some situations, it could affect employment.
People can experience several side effects after a court issues a guilty verdict. According to the Council of State Governments, collateral consequences are the prohibitions that people face because of their convictions. These can affect several areas of a person’s life, such as access to housing and federal benefits. However, people could feel the most impact on their livelihood.
The effect on professional licensing
One study found that professionals in the following fields experienced the most severe impact:
- Real estate
- Banking and finance
- Childcare services
One reason that people in these occupations experience collateral consequences has to do with their professional license. In many of these fields, the state has to issue a license before someone can practice legally. Once they no longer have this certificate, people could find that their business is effectively shut down.
The effect of a background check
Even if people do not need a professional license, a misdemeanor can still affect their job. The Houston Chronicle says that many companies run background checks on potential employees. During this search, employers will see the convictions on a person’s record. This does not mean that someone will be automatically disqualified. However, some people might be reluctant to hire a person with misdemeanor convictions. A company may need to hire drivers, for example. If someone has a DUI conviction, an employer could worry that this person will not be a safe hire.
If people have misdemeanor convictions on their record, they could see if they qualify for expungement. This can help them get the fresh start they need.