How Long Does a Felony Stay on Your Record

How Long Does a Felony Stay on Your Record
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Felony Convictions and Impact on Finances

Those who have been convicted of a felony charge are typically sentenced to jail time. Unfortunately, after serving a jail sentence for a felony, most job applications ask the question “have you ever been convicted of a felony”. In fact, many loan applications also ask the same question. Sadly, this means that a convicted felon will have fewer job opportunities and their financial future may be at serious risk, including some of the following issues:

Loans - When applying for a mortgage, those who have had a felony conviction may be turned down even if they have met other loan criteria;

Insurance - Some life insurance companies will not grant policies to convicted felons. Depending on what type of felony was charged the felon my also face challenges obtaining automobile insurance;

Certain benefits - There are certain benefits that a convicted felon may not take advantage of for limited or specific periods of time depending on the crime. These include certain pension, Social Security and other federally sponsored benefits;

Housing - Many felons are not able to obtain FNMA, FHA or VA loans even if they meet the credit criteria. Most felons will find are they are also not eligible for public housing.

There are other financial concerns that can have a long term impact on a felon’s ability to succeed financially. It is important to note that not all felonies are treated equally. This means that not all felonies will have the same impact on a financial future.

Reinstatement of Rights After Felony Conviction


For those who have been convicted of a felony and are trying to determine how long does a felony stay on your record it is important to understand that unless steps are taken to expunge their record, the information stays forever. Expunging a felony means that it is purged from the record as if it were never there in the first place.

There are specific guidelines for someone having their record expunged including meeting all the requirements of parole, no additional crimes, and other specific conditions. It is also important to note that not all jurisdictions allow felonies to be expunged.

There are certain felony convictions that cannot be purged from a record. These include violent crimes including those crimes defined as felonies that affect a child under the age of 18, rape, sexual battery and others.

Pardon vs. Expungement

It is important to note that if a person is pardoned for a felony conviction the conviction remains on their record. This means that any application (including job applications, credit applications or home loan applications) that asks if a person has been convicted of a felony would still require a “yes” answer. Expungement on the other hand allows the person to answer this question “no”.

Expunging a felony from a record will require a petition be filed with the proper authorities for the jurisdiction that allows the crime to be expunged. In most cases, it is prudent for the convicted felon to hire a criminal defense attorney to assist them.



  1. IntegraScan: Expungement Guide:
  2. Federal Statautes Imposing Collateral Consequences Upon Conviction -
  3. New York Times, Butterfield, Fox December 29, 2002 Freed From Prison, but Still Paying a Penalty:

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