Three Ways a Criminal Defense Case Can Endanger Your Career

Facing a criminal charge in Gainesville, Florida, can leave your career and job prospects vulnerable. Let’s take a look at how Florida law regarding employment and a criminal defense case or conviction could impact your career. Reach out to a criminal defense lawyer today.

Background Checks

Almost every employer does a background check — 70 percent to be exact. And in Florida, employers have a strong incentive to do a criminal background check. A Florida employer is unlikely to be found negligent of protecting employees in the case of workplace violence if they conducted a thorough background check and didn’t hire someone who had a history of workplace violence or behavior that indicated they could endanger other employees.

Fortunately, there are guidelines employers must follow when using background checks in the hiring process. Regardless if you’ve been convicted of a crime, it’s important you know the requirements employers must follow when conducting background checks.

  • Any employer who wants to do a background check must get your consent first.
  • The employer must notify you of their intent to use the report in their hiring decision.
  • The employer must notify you if they used the content of your background check as a deciding factor in their hiring decision.
  • The employer must give you a copy of the criminal background check report.

If an employer decides to not hire you because of the findings of your criminal background check, it must be because your criminal background would specifically impact your ability to do your job. For example, if you were convicted of credit card fraud, you might not suitable for a job that requires you to handle credit cards or cash.

If you want to know more about how Florida law may impact your chances of getting hired if you’re facing criminal charges or a conviction, talk to a Gainesville criminal defense attorney.

Now that you understand how an employer can utilize your background check, let’s look at the three ways your career may be endangered by a criminal defense case.

#1 Loss of Licenses

In Gainesville, Florida, there is no blanket law that says you must lose your professional licenses if you have a criminal defense case or if you’ve been convicted of a crime. However, there are certain criminal convictions that could prohibit you from getting a license. This is especially the case for certain drug convictions. A Gainesville criminal defense lawyer can help you understand how your professional licenses may be impacted by a criminal defense case or conviction.

#2 Getting Fired

Even if you haven’t been convicted of a crime, some Gainesville, Florida, employers may decide to terminate your employment as soon as you’re arrested. Since Florida is an at-will employment state, an employer can fire you for any legal reason.

Your employer could choose to end your employment because of a criminal defense case – however, under Federal law, employers could face legal trouble if they make a blanket ban or fire any employees with criminal records if those convictions don’t impact their ability to do their job.

#3 – Not Getting Hired

Even if you’re not convicted of a criminal offense, simply being charged with a crime can harm your career. If you have a pending case, some employers may fear that you will go to jail after they’ve hired you. Or, they may treat the criminal charge as a conviction and shy away from hiring you instead of taking a “wait and see” approach. Since arrests are public record, employers who do an Internet search before calling candidates may be scared off by a mug shot or a pending trial. Depending on the charges, employers might not even call you for an interview.

What You Can Do

If you’ve been charged with a criminal offense, there are a few things you can do to protect your career.

  • Be candid. Public information is easy to find online, which means criminal charges are difficult to hide. So, be honest about the fact you’re facing criminal charges. If you’re a current employee, this can help maintain your reputation and give you an opportunity to explain your side of the story. For future employers, this will give you an opportunity to eliminate the shock factor when they run the background check.
  • Ask questions. If you’re afraid a criminal defense case can harm your career, ask your current employer or potential employer about their policies. Let them know if you have a conviction or if you’re involved in an open criminal case. Learn how they handle those types of situations.
  • Tell your story of redemption. If you’ve made mistakes in the past, use your experience as an opportunity to talk about how you’ve changed. Consider having a professional blog and include a section that explains how you made mistakes in the past but now you’re on a new path.

Talk to an experienced Gainesville criminal defense lawyer. An experienced attorney can help you minimize the impact a criminal defense case can have on your career.