It is hard to deny that the impacts of a felony conviction could extend to long after a person completes his sentence. An ex-felon could face difficulty finding jobs for convicted felons.

It is possible that a felony conviction forever stays on your criminal record. The right way to mitigate the effects is to seek a pardon or expungement or try to get across to employers open to hiring people with criminal records.

Factors influencing the duration of a felony on a criminal record

  1. How severe is the offense

When determining how long a felony is going to stay on your criminal record, the severity of the offense is an important factor for determining the same. Severe offenses are likely to stay on your criminal record for longer. 

Now, certain states have specific laws to determine for how long a felony is going to stay on criminal records. Just as an instance, in certain states, drug felonies have a shorter sentence as compared to other felonies. 

Alternatively, a felony on your criminal record will also have other consequences such as parole and sentencing eligibility.

  1. Length of the sentence

The duration for which a felony stays on record is closely associated with the parole period, probation period, and prison sentence. Generically, the longer your sentence is, the longer the felony stays on your criminal record.

Some factors determining the length of a sentence are the state where the person is tried, the nature of the offense, and the person’s criminal history. Now, if an individual violates the terms of his parole or probation, his sentence could be extended. This will, in turn, prolong the duration for which felony stays on the criminal record.

  1. The individual’s age

An important factor that works towards determining how long a felony stays on a criminal record is whether or not the offender was a minor when the crime was committed. There are cases wherein juvenile offenders have their records expunged or sealed after a certain duration of time, or after they undergo rehabilitation. Finding jobs for convicted felons then becomes easier. However, the severity of the offense and the state where the person was tried have a role to play in this.

  1. State laws

As per the laws of certain states, after a specific period, certain types of felonies can be sealed or expunged from an individual’s criminal record. But in some states, sealing or expungement of criminal records is disallowed.

In a few of the states, “three-strikes” laws are implemented that mandate longer sentences for repeat offenders. This could have a significant impact over the duration for which a felony stays on a person’s criminal record. At times, obtaining professional licenses or finding jobs for convicted felons becomes difficult for an individual with arrest records.


Your job search could be significantly impacted in the long term by your felony conviction. The duration of a felony record will be variable by the state. But this is an exception. In most cases, it will be on an individual’s record for life.

Record sealing and expungement are some ways to mitigate the impact. But this won’t be available in all states. 

As an ex-felon, when you intend to make a fresh start to your life, get in touch with Reecareers. We help felons out with job and housing support, besides counseling and rehabilitation.

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