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How Can a Criminal Record Affect My Future?

criminal record

If you have been charged with a crime, you may be aware that you are facing various criminal penalties, including incarceration and/or fines. While these immediate conviction consequences are severe, you could also face several other sanctions that may affect your future even long after you have completed your sentence.

Various state and federal laws and regulations are in effect placing a range of limitations on people convicted of crimes – whether felonies or misdemeanors. Known as collateral consequences, they can impact almost all aspects of a person's life, from employment to schooling to housing and more.

Below are some of the ways a conviction and associated collateral consequences can affect your future:


Employers are concerned with protecting the safety of their employees, vendors, and others with whom they do business. They must ensure that they do not make any negligent hiring decisions that could open them up to vulnerabilities. As such, many employers will conduct background checks to screen out candidates who may pose safety risks.

Although employers are discouraged from basing hiring decisions solely on criminal histories, they might have policies in place that adversely affect you because of your conviction. Thus, if you have been found guilty of a crime, you may find it difficult to get a job.

Professional Licenses

If you work in a certain field, such as health care or real estate, you must obtain a professional license to practice. Licensing boards will conduct a criminal background check on you. If you have a criminal history, you could be denied an occupational license. Tens of thousands of laws exist concerning professional licenses, and some of those allow for automatic denials for those with certain criminal convictions.


Finding a place to live after being convicted of a crime could be difficult. For instance, under federal laws, people found guilty of drug-related or violent offenses may be ineligible for public or subsidized housing. Additionally, anyone required to register as a sex offender for life can be terminated from federally assisted housing programs (24 CFR § 982.553).

Federal Student Aid

After serving your sentence, you may attempt to get your life back on track by earning a degree. Unfortunately, because you have been convicted of a crime, you might face challenges when trying to pay for higher education. If you were incarcerated, you may be ineligible for a Federal Pell Grant or federal student loans. However, the restrictions may be lifted after your release from prison.

Eligibility for federal student aid will also be limited if you have been convicted of a drug crime. If you were convicted while you were receiving federal loans, your eligibility will be suspended until you complete a drug rehabilitation program or pass two unannounced drug tests. If you were convicted after you submitted your application for federal aid, your eligibility will be revoked, and you will be required to pay back funds received while you were ineligible.


Under state and federal laws, you may lose your right to purchase or possess a firearm. If your situation meets certain criteria, such as being found guilty of a misdemeanor domestic violence offense, the federal government bans you from having a gun (18 USC 922(g)). Also, O.S. § 21-1283 provides that convicted felons cannot have firearms, and this right can only be restored by a “full and complete pardon from the proper authority.”

The above are just a few examples of how a conviction can ruin your life. As mentioned before, numerous laws and regulations exist that can place limitations on you when you have a criminal record.

If facing criminal charges in Norman, OK, turn to the Law Offices of Keith J. Nedwick, P.C. for the aggressive defense you need. We will fight hard toward a favorable outcome. Call us at (866) 590-8173 or contact us online today!

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