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Criminal convictions affect employment and professional licensing

On Behalf of | Mar 15, 2024 | Criminal Defense

When Idaho residents are charged with crimes, they can face a long list of consequences. Of course, a conviction can mean jail time, fines, community service, completing different classes, probation and other official penalties. However, there are other consequences that can affect almost every aspect of a person’s life. Some of these begin even before the person stands trial, and many continue long after a defendant has served any time, paid any fines or otherwise put the criminal justice system’s penalties behind them.

Criminal background checks

Criminal convictions can have a negative impact on future employment. Many employers look at a past conviction as a reason to not hire a job applicant.

And, because as many as 21% of Idaho residents have a conviction on their records, this affects a huge portion of the population.

Under a proposed Idaho law known as the Fair Chance Employment Act, many employers would not be allowed ask about a job applicant’s criminal history at the beginning of the application of the process. However, they could ask later on, once they have scheduled the applicant for an interview or given a conditional job offer. At that point, the employer would be able ask about criminal history and conduct a criminal background check.

Professional licensing

Criminal convictions can also affect professional licensing. Generally, licensing boards consider convictions only when they are related to the duties of the profession. However, the boards have discretion in defining what offenses may be related to their professions. Some licensing boards tend to find nearly all kinds of convictions to be grounds for refusing to grant or renew a license.


Some people who have been charged with crimes are able to clear their official criminal records through the process known as expungement. However, the requirements for Idaho’s expungement law are quite strict.

Expungement is available to people who:

  • Were arrested or served a summons, but not charged within a year
  • Were acquitted of all charges
  • Had all charges dismissed before conviction and sentencing

Criminal defense

In this blog post, we have looked only at how a criminal conviction can affect employment, but in fact a conviction can affect a person’s options for housing and many other parts of their life.

This is one reason it’s so important to remember that everyone who is charged with a crime has the right to a defense. And, because so much is at stake, it’s crucial to have the best defense strategy possible under the circumstances.