Everyone knows that a criminal conviction – and particularly a felony conviction – can result in substantial legal penalties, including fines, imprisonment, and the loss of certain rights. If you’re facing felony charges, it’s important to understand that the consequences of a felony conviction on your record can go far beyond the sentence imposed by the court and have an adverse impact on every aspect of your life, including your career.
Background checks have become a nearly universal part of the job application process, with 96 percent of employers running them. Felonies are serious offenses, and employers are not likely to overlook a felony conviction on an applicant’s record. In fact, many job applications specifically ask whether you have been convicted of a felony, and answering “yes” may result in your application being put into the rejection pile without further review.
North Dakota is an at-will employment state. That means that your employer can terminate you, at any time, for any reason, provided the reason is not discriminatory. As a result, if you are convicted of a crime, your employer can fire you.
If you are a licensed professional or are planning to enter a licensed profession, a felony conviction can have drastic consequences, including the loss of an existing license or a denial of a license in the future, preventing you from doing what you have been trained to do for a living. Examples of fields that require people to obtain a professional license include medicine, law, accounting, finance, counseling, and certain trades.
Fortunately, there are often defenses available in felony cases, and a lawyer may be able to mitigate the consequences you are facing. In some cases, an attorney may even be able to have the charges dropped or dismissed by a judge, allowing you to move forward as if nothing ever happened. Some of the legal defenses often raised in felony cases include:
In cases where there are no viable defenses, your attorney can often negotiate a plea bargain that results in significantly lesser consequences than you would face if you handled your case alone. Sometimes, a lawyer can even have the charges you are facing reduced to misdemeanors, allowing you to avoid collateral consequences associated with a felony conviction.
If you are facing allegations of criminal misconduct, you should speak to an attorney as soon as you can. At O’Keeffe, O’Brien, Lyson, Foss, we are committing to protecting the legal rights of people accused of crimes. Criminal defense attorney Tatum O’Brien and the rest of our legal team have the experience and skill required to bring your case to the best resolution possible.
To schedule a case evaluation with a criminal defense lawyer in Fargo, call our office today at 701-235-8000 or 877-235-8002 or send us an email through our online contact form.