Being convicted of a violent crime in Florida can have wide-ranging personal consequences. In addition to fines and a possible prison term, it can impact your right to vote, to own a firearm, to veteran’s benefits, to many forms of public assistance, and even access to student loans. If you are not a citizen it can impact your residency status, possibly even leading to deportation. And it can have a long-term impact on your career.
Careers may be closed off entirely
Many careers require some kind of license. Most people think of doctors and lawyers with fancy certificates on their walls, but there are many jobs with some kind of licensing requirement, and almost all licensing boards do a criminal background check. The Florida Public Defender’s office has a guidebook which includes a six page list of careers which require a license, and a further three pages of other jobs which regularly do background checks. If there is a relationship between a conviction the area of employment, a license can be denied. Additionally, many licensing boards have a general “good moral character” clause which gives them broad leeway to deny licenses depending on the nature of the conviction. For those who already have a professional license, you may be required to disclose your conviction to the licensing board, potentially leading to further consequences.
Background checks in Florida
Even for careers which don’t require a license, Florida law is set up in a way which encourages employers to conduct background checks prior to hiring. (Doing a background check protects the employer against certain legal claims.) Employers can’t simply refuse to hire anyone with a criminal record, but they do have very broad leeway to decline to hire people who they believe would present an unreasonable risk. The “best practice” is to allow the prospective employee a chance to explain the circumstances of the conviction, but unsurprisingly this is not always followed.
Finally, some consequences of conviction will have side-effects that can impact your job or job prospects. For example, some crimes may lead to the suspension of your drivers’ license; this would obviously be a problem if your job requires driving. Other consequences may restrict your schedule, where you are allowed to live or go, or have other effects which can have a bearing on where you can work.
Contact an Experienced St. Petersburg Criminal Defense Lawyer Today for More Information
When grappling with the potentially life-altering consequences of an arrest for a violent crime, be sure to contact a law firm that has experience in this kind of case and equipped with the resources to fight for you. The Khonsari Law Group has spent years serving as criminal defense attorneys in the St. Petersburg and greater Tampa Bay area. If you have been charged with a violent offense, contact us today for a FREE, no-risk consultation at (727) 269-5300.