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Career with felony convictions?

  1. Feb 8, 2005 #1
    I'm still in college right now. I am 31 years old (I went back to school later in life, obviously). I am halfway through a B.S. degree right now. With the classes I have, I can either finish with an applied math degree or a physics degree. I enjoy doing both equally (I salivate for vector calc and partial differential equations just as much as for electrostatics and relativity, heh), but I think I'll end doing the physics B.S. with a minor in math (I get it automatically for all the math required in the program). I currently have 94 credits with a CGPA of 3.87.

    However, I've got 3 felony convictions on my record. 13 years ago (I was 18 years old), I was convicted of burglary and felony possession of marijuana. And then, just last year, I was convicted of Possession of an Altered ID card. The ID card was badly damaged so the numbers were basically unreadable. The guys at the stores wouldn't sell me cigarettes anymore because they said they couldn't accept the ID. So I "wrote in" the numbers to the best of my ability with a black sharpie marker. I didn't have the time to go to the DMV, but I should have made time. Anyway, less than a week later, I got pulled over, showed them my ID, and apparently one of the numbers that I rewrote was incorrect and they arrested me. I wasn't wanted, I wasn't underage, and I wasn't trying to present myself as someone else....the picture, name, DOB, etc was all MINE.

    Basically, my question is this: do I have a shot at a career if I continue with my education, or have I basically screwed myself into working at the local grocery store?
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 8, 2005 #2
    IMHO, you shouldn't have a problem getting a job doing Physics. However, getting a job for the federal government or at a private sector company where clearence is required may pose a problem for you. The worst felony that you have is the latter one. I don't think anybody gives a crap about what you did 13 years ago... and marijuana... please, you deserve a high five. :)
  4. Feb 8, 2005 #3


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    Move to Canada.

    They pardon you for anything.

    Our country will always give you a second chance, unless it's like rape or murder.

    The records you currently have are easy to get rid of.

    Note: Congrats on you're great success! I was a high school bum and then become a top-notch college student, but now turning into a university bum. I need to turn around, but have nothing to enlighten me into doing the boring things at school. :confused:
  5. Feb 9, 2005 #4
    Isn't amazing how that happens?

    Not good at all.

    to mmapcpro:

    Well, the ID thing was rather stupid, but as he said, thats the worst one on there. Those marks certainly won't help, but at the BS level, they shouldn't ruin everything either.
  6. Aug 7, 2006 #5
    I have some advice....

    I am also 31 years old. I ALSO got a felony conviction when I was 18. It was my only arrest and conviciton, but I got a bum rap and was given a felony instead of a misdemeanor conviction. I went to a top-tier college and majored in Actuarial Science. I finished with a BBA and passed 4 Actuarial exams, but my felony conviction always inhibits me from obtaining employment. Ove the past 7 years, I have applied for over 7000 jobs, been interviewed about 150 times, been hired 5 times and have been terminated 5 times!!!!!!!! No matter what all of these people say, if a company has to equally qualified candidates, and one has a felony conviction (regardless of the time elapsed) and one has a clean record, WHO DO YOU THINK WILL GET HIRED??????? I then got my MBA in finance and economics, but I still face the same problem. Now it's worse because I am so OVEREDUCATED that I can't even get a menial job!

    All of the other people are giving you some poor, erroneous advice. Here is what you will REALLY go through.

    1) Most poeple with physics degrees will either work in labs, think tanks, for government or in banking. The problem with this is that you will ALWAYS be denied if you need a secuity clearance, so you can eliminate defense, pharmaceutical and engineering companies.

    2) Many physicists also work for banks ('cuz the business majors just can't do the acvanced financial and statistical calculations), but you can chalk that up do to the 1994 Crime Bill (look it up).

    3) You can try looking for a job, but you will DEFINATELY go through the same bs. The company won't tell you that it has denied you because of your record, but it will give you some other reason like: 'you don't fit into our culture', '..more qualified candidates...', '...need more experience...', etc.

    4) Also, I hope that you aren't a black male. if you are, you may as well apply for a PhD. program and teach. We live in a VERY racist country whether people want to admit it or not. If an employer can deny you by any means, then your race and conviction help them to justify denying you and hiring someone else.

    My suggestion:

    Apply for a pardon. It will take some time, but while you're applying for one, you can complete your masters, which will give you more ammunition for your pardon. Start volunteering and see if you can enter the U.S. Army reserves. You will NOT be able to apply for the same jobs that your classmates can apply for. By the nature of your degree, your job options will usually require a security clearance, which you will NOT be able to get:frown:

    I know that I'm a complete stranger and this is devestating news, but it's the truth. You are welcome to email me, if you need to ask more questions. Good Luck!
  7. Aug 7, 2006 #6
    mightyo30: I'm curious, the 5 jobs you got and were fired from, were they aware of your criminal record prior to hiring you? Or was it finding out after the fact that resulted in your termination?
  8. Aug 7, 2006 #7
    You could try to get your felony convictions vacated.
  9. Aug 8, 2006 #8
    You could start your own company, like a physics education camp or tutoring service. So long as your record doesn't have the words "child" or "molestor" on it, you could get away with it.

    Or, apply for jobs where the culture itself is forgiving and have an open minded approach to employees. There are tons of firms in the Bay Area that would love to have a physicist on their team. The money won't be spectacular, but you'll keep busy and do what you love.
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