Long-Term Consequences of a Criminal Conviction


Completing a sentence after a criminal conviction is a wonderful feeling. You served your time, met the requirements for release, and completed probation. It’s time to put your past mistakes behind you and move forward with a new outlook on life now that you’ve learned to value your freedom. But what happens when the new-found joy of your release becomes dampened by the realization that a criminal conviction never disappears? The consequences of a conviction last long after the individual completes the terms of their sentence. A criminal record has serious life-long implications for a previously incarcerated person.

What are the Life-Long Consequences of a Criminal Conviction?

A permanent criminal record can haunt a previously convicted individual, with ramifications for many aspects of their educational, professional, and personal life. Some of the long-term consequences of a criminal record include the following:

  • A criminal conviction may end an educational scholarship and make it difficult to secure student loans
  • Property owners may not allow you to rent an apartment due to a criminal conviction
  • Finding housing after a sex crime conviction is extremely difficult as you’ll be listed on the sex-offender registry as well as having a criminal record
  • Being a registered sex offender limits the types of jobs you’re eligible for as well as your options for housing
  • Some types of convictions leave you ineligible for public housing
  • A criminal record makes it difficult to get a job since a conviction appears in routine background checks
  • After a felony conviction, you lose your right to own a firearm
  • Those convicted of a felony lose their right to vote in elections
  • If you are not a U.S. citizen, a criminal conviction could result in deportation
  • A conviction limits your right to travel internationally
  • You cannot obtain or keep a secret security clearance so you are ineligible for government jobs
  • A criminal record could impact your right to shared child custody since family courts in Colorado make all decisions in a child’s best interests
  • You may find it difficult to obtain a loan, including a car loan, mortgage, or business loan since a criminal conviction gives you the appearance of high-risk
  • DUI convictions may result in the temporary or permanent loss of a commercial driver’s license and leave you ineligible for a job in the trucking industry

No Crime is a Petty Offense When You’re Left With the Long-Term Implications of a Criminal Record

A criminal conviction has a long reach on the life of the convicted person that doesn’t cease with the completion of the sentence, the payment of the fine, or even after completing probation. The true impacts of a conviction are life-long, with far-reaching effects.

Colorado is an “open-record state,” meaning not only can potential employers perform background checks, but anyone in the public can access criminal records easily and at minimal expense. While some types of criminal records may be sealed after a specific waiting period depending upon the type of crime, records for some types of serious convictions are unsealable and remain open to the public permanently.

If you have a criminal record in Colorado and you’ve completed your sentence and all probationary terms, speak to your attorney about whether or not sealing your record is an option in your case.