There are many possible consequences of a felony conviction besides serving your sentence, including incarceration, a fine, or both. We will cover 10 other things that can happen if you get convicted of a felony in Pennsylvania.
Right to Become an Elected Official
Pa. Constitution. Article II. § 7 prohibits people convicted of infamous crimes from holding public office in Pennsylvania. In 1842, authorities extended this prohibition to include felonies as infamous crimes.
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Professional Licensure Loss
Unlike some states, Pennsylvania does not impose a lifetime ban on professional licensures. A drug felony conviction can bar a person from obtaining any of these professional licenses for at least 10 years:
- Physician, physician assistant, osteopathic physician, optometrist, athletic trainer, nurse midwife, respiratory therapist, behavior specialist, genetic counselor, orthotic fitter, physical therapist, and other healthcare professions requiring state licensure
- Registered nurse, licensed practical nurse, dietitian, nutritionist
- Licensed social worker, licensed clinical social worker, licensed professional counselor, and licensed marriage and family therapist
- Crane operator
There are limitations and restrictions on licenses for insurance agents and brokers, private detectives, veterinary technicians, and other professional licenses for people convicted of felonies.
Ineligibility for Some Jobs
Pennsylvania’s Fair Chance Hiring policy allows job applicants to explain their story when applying for a job as long as their criminal records do not include a violent crime conviction. Generally, if a crime is unrelated to the job a person applies for, the potential employer can’t ask about the applicant’s criminal convictions. However, there are limits for how they can use that information.
The Fair Chance policy does not apply to positions for which a felony conviction makes the applicant ineligible. Also, jobs that involve contact with vulnerable individuals, law enforcement, or safeguarding people or property are not subject to the Fair Chance policy.
Loss of Eligibility to Adopt or Become a Foster Parent
State law prohibits administrators from approving applicants with convicted felonies who want to adopt, work as a foster parent, or gain employment that involves children. This also applies if the applicant is convicted of certain crimes involving violence or indecency under federal or state laws.
Prohibited from Voting While Incarcerated
There are some situations in which people who are incarcerated cannot vote. At least one of the convictions must be a felony, and the offender must not be eligible for release from confinement at least 30 days before the next election.
Ineligible for Student Loans
Getting convicted of a federal drug offense or any felony, whether state or federal, can make a person ineligible for state or federal assistance for higher education. For this purpose, state or federal assistance for higher education can include loans, work assistance, or grants.
Lose the Right to Possess Firearms
When a person gets convicted of certain listed felonies, they might have to surrender their firearms or sell or transfer them to someone not a member of their household within a reasonable time, which cannot exceed 60 days, under 18 Pa. C.S.A. § 6105.
Other than such a sale or transfer, the person convicted of an enumerated felony is not allowed to “possess, use, control, sell, transfer or manufacture or obtain a license to possess, use, control, sell, transfer or manufacture a firearm in this Commonwealth.”
For this purpose, a firearm can be a pistol, revolver, rifle, or shotgun.
Cannot Serve on a Jury
A person convicted of a felony cannot serve on a jury in Pennsylvania unless they receive an amnesty or pardon.
DNA Sample Submission
If a person gets convicted of a felony sex offense and certain other crimes, they might have to give a DNA sample that authorities will enter into the Pennsylvania DNA database and share with law enforcement and criminal justice agencies at the federal, state, and local levels.
Might Have to Register as a Sexual Offender or Sexual Predator
Pennsylvania has a “Megan’s Law,” which requires sexual offenders and sexually violent predators to register with the Pennsylvania State Police. When the court convicts a person of a sex offense that involves sexual violence or sexual predatory conduct, the court can impose a lifetime requirement to register.
The neighborhood a registered sexual offender moves to will receive notice of their arrival in the community. Moreover, with a possible lifetime registration requirement, the person convicted of a felony under “Megan’s Law” could encounter harassment wherever they go.
Remember, your criminal record follows you even if you move to another part of the country. Sex offender registries and DNA databases are shared across states. Even after serving your time and paying your debt to society, you can still face many negative outcomes after being convicted of a felony.
Work With a Criminal Defense Attorney If You Are Facing a Felony Conviction in Pennsylvania
With all these potential consequences, the ideal thing is to avoid getting a felony conviction in the first place. If you are facing felony charges in Pennsylvania, you can review your legal options with a criminal defense attorney. An attorney might be able to get a dismissal, go for a not guilty verdict, or negotiate a plea to lesser charges, like a misdemeanor.
At the Law Offices of M.J. Snyder, LLC, we will work to get you the best outcome available in your situation.