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What Are the Long-Term Effects of a Felony Conviction in NJ?

Even after a convicted defendant completes their sentence, the effects of a felony conviction might linger for some time. Having a felony on your record does not look good and might get in the way of other areas of your life. You might have difficulty finding employment. You might lose your right to own a firearm. If you are not a U.S. citizen, you risk being deported.

The next question is, how can someone avoid all these long-term effects of a felony conviction? Perhaps the most effective way is to hire a skilled lawyer to help you fight your felony-level charges and hopefully avoid a conviction. If you have already been convicted, you should speak to an attorney about your rights so you can protect yourself if and when your felony-level conviction starts to get in the way of your life. You should also talk to your lawyer about whether you can get the conviction expunged from your record.

Get a free, private review of your case when you call our NJ criminal defense lawyers at the Law Offices of John J. Zarych at (609) 616-4956.

How a Felony-Level Conviction Might Affect Your Employment in NJ

First, the State of New Jersey does not use terms like “felony” or “misdemeanor” in its criminal justice system. Instead, the state uses the phrases “indictable crime” to describe felony-level convictions and “disorderly persons offenses” to describe misdemeanors and other lesser offenses. In New Jersey, a felony-level conviction might get in the way of your ability to find a job.

Potential employers often do not like to hire job applicants with criminal records, especially records involving felony-level convictions. While it is possible for an employer to turn you down for a job because of a conviction, there are laws regarding when and how they can do this. Our Ocean City, NJ criminal defense lawyers understand the ripple effect a felony-level conviction can have across your life and can help you take steps to protect yourself.

According to N.J.S.A. § 36:6B-14(a), a potential employer cannot require you to answer any questions on an employment application about your criminal record. Similarly, they cannot make oral or written inquiries about your criminal record during the application process.

However, an employer may inquire into an applicant’s criminal history after the application process is complete. For example, suppose a potential employer decides they want to move forward with your application and possibly hire you. In that case, they may ask questions about your record or run a background check before agreeing to hire you.

Know your rights. If an employer asks about your criminal record during the application process or has you answer questions on the application about your criminal history, you may refuse to answer. If they will not hire you because you will not answer, contact an attorney for help.

Your Right to Own a Firearm After a Felony-Level Conviction in NJ

If you have owned or wish to own a firearm in New Jersey, you might be unable to do so if you have a felony-level conviction on your record. People convicted of certain offenses may be restricted from buying and carrying firearms. If you have a conviction on your record and want to purchase a firearm, talk to a lawyer first to make sure you are legally allowed to go through with the purchase.

According to N.J.S.A. § 2C:58-3(c)(1), anyone convicted of an indictable crime in New Jersey or an offense that would be a felony in another state or jurisdiction may be barred from obtaining a firearm. Additionally, anyone who has been convicted of a disorderly persons offenses related to domestic violence may be prohibited from obtaining a firearm. Even if a firearm was not used in the offense for which you were convicted, you are still barred.

Check the status of your conviction with a lawyer before trying to obtain a firearm. Certain convictions might not make you ineligible for firearm ownership. However, many, if not most, felony-level convictions may preclude you from owning a gun.

The Risk of Deportation After a Felony-Level Conviction

According to 8 U.S.C. § 1227(2), any alien admitted to the United States may be deported if convicted of certain criminal offenses. While a felony-level conviction in New Jersey might jeopardize your status in this country, you should speak to your lawyer about it. Not all criminal offenses make someone eligible for removal or deportation.

The crimes for which someone might be eligible for deportation include general offenses, offenses involving controlled substances, offenses involving firearms, domestic violence, trafficking, and other miscellaneous offenses. These offenses may include both felony- and misdemeanor-level convictions.

If you are convicted of a felony and are afraid of deportation, you should speak to an attorney about your case immediately. If your lawyer can help you avoid a conviction or perhaps arrange a plea agreement for charges that would not make you eligible for removal, you might be able to remain in the United States. Alternatively, your lawyer can check if your conviction makes you eligible for deportation. If it does not, you may be able to challenge your removal.

How to Avoid Long-Term Complications of Felony-Level Convictions in NJ

Considering just how much a felony-level conviction can affect your life, it is wise to hire an experienced lawyer when you are initially charged. Your lawyer can help you fight the case against you and hopefully avoid a conviction.

The best way to fight your felony-level charges will vary based on your unique circumstances. For example, someone charged with certain drug-related offenses might approach their defense entirely differently from someone facing domestic violence charges. If beating the charges is not possible, your lawyer can help you work out a plea agreement so you can plead guilty to less severe charges that might have less of an impact on the rest of your life.

Another option is to get an expungement. When a conviction is expunged from someone’s criminal record, it is treated as if it never existed. Records of the conviction are sealed by the court and cannot be accessed by anyone outside the court. If your conviction is expunged and an employer asks about your criminal history, you may reply that you have no convictions. You do not need to disclose the expungement.

Speak to Our NJ Criminal Defense Lawyers Immediately if You Have Been Charged

Get a free, private review of your case when you call our Atlantic City criminal defense lawyers at the Law Offices of John J. Zarych at (609) 616-4956.

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