Reaching goals becomes challenging after a felony. Looking for a job in the law enforcement department is even more taxing.

Law enforcements wield a lot of power over civilians. Hence, anyone who wants to be a cop needs to go through a background check.

While felony arrest on your check isn’t a deal-breaker, a conviction does shift the odds against you.

As per the circumstances, you may still get the job. To learn more, keep reading.

Difference between Felony Arrest and Conviction

Felony arrest can happen on an allegation. Now, in some cases, it’s possible that you are not at fault. In such situations, the arrest still shows up on your criminal check.

Innocent till proven guilty is relevant in such cases. Felony arrest is possible without conviction in the end.

Hence, employers need to look at the final disposition of the case. Also, the hirers cannot make employment or termination decisions solely on the criminal database.

In such cases, the applicant can file an EEOC or FCRA lawsuit against the employer on legal grounds.

What Happens After a Felony Arrest?

Criminal acts include infractions, misdemeanors, and felonies. It is a loose classification of criminal acts. 

Infractions: These acts include minor faults like a traffic ticket, violation of noise ordinance, littering.

Misdemeanors: Crimes that land people in prison for up to one year come under misdemeanors.

Felonies: Any offense that lands an individual in prison for more than one year comes under felony.

But, in practice, felonies vary from state to state. Felony definition may be different in your state. Or, something that is a felony in your state may be a misdemeanor in another state.

Some crimes, like murder, rape, and kidnapping, are felonies everywhere.

As seen, crime classification can vary. So, check the details carefully.

Law Enforcement Department – What Classifies You As a Felon?

You only become a felon if you either get convicted of the felony or plead guilty on a case. The arrest alone cannot work as proof of guilt.

So, if you have ever been convicted, plead guilty, or no contest to a felony, getting a job in law enforcement isn’t possible.

If the charges for the crime are dropped, the hiring department may still see your character as flawed.

Moreover, there are exceptional cases as well. For example, Applicants may have a misdemeanor conviction in one state that is considered a felony in second state. When they apply for a law department job in the second state, hiring department will consider it a felony.

Also, severe misdemeanors like driving under the influence can lead to rejection.

Lastly, a record with a pattern of lawbreaking will lead to rejection as well.

Job in Law Enforcement Department after a Felony

Some police departments are more forgiving than others. For one, as per Denver Post, the Colorado police department does consider applicants with past convictions. The hiring department makes the judgment on a case-to-case basis.

Applicants with an impulse when they were younger might have a chance. But, the right to apply does not ensure a job at the department.

Moreover, convictions in the juvenile court will not disqualify applicants from the job. Lastly, official Pardons can make a difference in specific cases. But, the final call remains with the individual police department.


In most cases, the presence of a felony does disqualify applicants from a job in the law department. Specific cases and departments are the only hope for ex-felons to work in the firm.

But, felony arrest isn’t a conviction. Hence, it is possible to get the dream job in some instances. Wrong place at the wrong time is a reality for many people.

The law department is more thorough with its background check of every applicant. So, while it is impossible for them to miss anything in your check, there is still a chance.

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