How Will a Criminal Conviction Impact Your Job Opportunities?

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Aug 15

Lewis & Laws

How Will a Criminal Conviction Impact Your Job Opportunities?

by Lewis & Laws

If you are convicted of a crime, you may not realize how long-lasting the consequences truly are. Long after you’ve served your time and paid your debt to society, you may find it difficult to maintain employment or gain valuable job opportunities. Understanding these consequences is crucial for anyone seeking to rebuild their lives after a conviction and secure meaningful employment.

It is essential to recognize the significant impact a criminal conviction can have on job opportunities. Employers often conduct background checks as part of their hiring process, and a criminal record can negatively influence their decision-making. By understanding these consequences, individuals with criminal convictions can better prepare for the challenges they may face in the job market. They can also take proactive steps to mitigate these effects and improve their chances of finding suitable employment.

Fortunately, a Seattle criminal defense lawyer can help you BEFORE you receive a criminal conviction. With the right criminal defense, you may be able to mitigate the damages of a conviction altogether. After your arrest, your attorney may be able to negotiate with prosecutors for a lesser charge, helping you avoid felony charges that could damage your employment opportunities. They can also advise on potential options for record expungement or sealing and offer strategies to address the impact on job applications. 

How Different Criminal Convictions Affect Your Employment Options

When it comes to criminal convictions, it's important to understand the differences between misdemeanors and felonies. Misdemeanors are typically less serious offenses. They’re punishable by fines, probation, or short-term imprisonment. On the other hand, felonies are more serious crimes that can result in significant prison sentences. 

Understanding the classification of a conviction as either a misdemeanor or a felony is crucial because it can impact how employers perceive the offense and the subsequent effect on job opportunities. In general, the severity and nature of the offense play a significant role in how employers feel about hiring someone with a criminal record. Employers may consider the seriousness of the offense, the risk it poses to workplace safety or reputation, and the potential for recurrence.

Various types of offenses can affect employment prospects differently. For example:

Theft: Convictions related to theft, such as shoplifting or embezzlement, can raise concerns for employers, especially in roles that involve handling money, assets, or confidential information.

Drug offenses: Drug-related convictions, including possession or distribution, can make it difficult to obtain employment in fields with strict regulations or zero-tolerance policies, such as healthcare or transportation.

Assault: Convictions for assault or violent offenses can significantly impact job opportunities, especially in sectors that prioritize public safety or require interaction with vulnerable populations.

Sadly, even after securing initial employment, individuals with criminal convictions may encounter obstacles to career advancement. Promotion opportunities, managerial positions, or roles involving higher levels of responsibility may be limited or inaccessible due to the stigma associated with a criminal record.

How Can I Get a Job After a Criminal Conviction?

After a criminal conviction, you may want to turn the page and move forward in your life. To do that, you need a job. Unfortunately, obtaining employment with a criminal record isn’t easy. To improve your chances of landing that first job, take the following steps. 

Target Specific Industries

Certain industries, such as retail, hospitality, and manual labor, may be more open to hiring individuals with criminal records, especially for entry-level positions. These industries often prioritize skills and experience over background checks.

Emphasize Skills

You can showcase the skills acquired during incarceration or participation in rehabilitation programs. This may include highlighting skills such as communication, problem-solving, teamwork, or vocational training received while in custody.

Highlight Personal Growth

Emphasize your efforts toward personal growth and rehabilitation. This can include participation in counseling, therapy, or substance abuse programs.

Gathering character references from mentors, counselors, or individuals who can vouch for your positive qualities and transformation can be instrumental. These references can provide employers with insights into your character, work ethic, and potential for success in the workplace.

Contact Our Seattle Criminal Defense Attorneys

If you face challenges related to a criminal conviction and its impact on your job opportunities, don't navigate this complex journey alone. Contact an experienced Seattle criminal defense lawyer today. Together, we will work towards overcoming your challenges and opening doors to new opportunities.


At Lewis & Laws, we offer aggressive legal assistance after an arrest in Seattle, Bellevue, Everett, and throughout Washington state. Contact us today to explore your legal options.



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