A misdemeanor conviction has a lot of consequences in PA. Just because it is a misdemeanor in Pennsylvania, doesn’t mean that it is a slap on the wrist. A conviction is like a diamond, it lasts forever.
Here is the most comprehensive list of those consequences on the internet:
A person convicted of a misdemeanor could:
- Lose the right to hold elected office
- Be unable to serve on a jury
- Lose the opportunity to adopt children or take in foster kids.
- Lose the right to own firearms for life
- Be ineligible to borrow student loans
- Be ineligible for a professional license
- Possibly be required to register under “Megan’s Law”
- Possibly be required to submit to a DNA sample if convicted certain misdemeanor offenses.
So, when folks ask what are Misdemeanor Conviction Consequences in Pennsylvania? There can be a lot.
Section 7 of Pennsylvania’s Constitution prohibits those convicted of “infamous crimes” from holding elected office. While it is true that most “infamous crimes” are felonies, courts have previously ruled some misdemeanor sex crimes as falling under this umbrella. If you are convicted of one of these offenses, you will be unable to hold elected office.
Any crime punishable for more than 1 year disqualifies a person from jury service under 42 Pa. C.S. 4502. This means misdemeanors of the third degree do not disqualify a person from jury service as their maximum punishment is 1 year in prison. Misdemeanors of the first or second degree can have punishments greater than one year and up to five years. If you are convicted of a Misdemeanor of the first of second degree you will be unable to serve on a jury. There is an exception to this rule. A conviction for a violation of the vehicle code is not a disqualifying offense.
Unlike felonies, you will not lose your right to vote if convicted only for misdemeanors. This is true even if you are in jail at the time of the election.
FOSTER PARENT/ADOPTIVE PARENT
Certain misdemeanor convictions could prevent you from adopting children of taking in foster children. Under 23 Pa. C.S.A. 6344(c), many crimes are listed as disqualifying for these purposes. Many of these crimes are felonies, but several of them are or can be misdemeanors, including:
- Stalking – Section 2709.1
- Unlawful Restraint – Section 2902
- Indecent Exposure – Section 3127
- Concealing Death of a Child – Section 4303
- Endangering the Welfare of Children – Section 4304
- Dealing in Infant Children- Section 4305
- Corruption of Minors – Section 6301
This includes the attempt or conspiracy or solicitation to commit any of these such offenses.
One of the major misdemeanor conviction consequences in Pennsylvania surrounds firearm rights.
Under 18 Pa. C.S.A. 6105 those with a conviction for a misdemeanor of the first degree may not possess a firearm for the rest of their lives. Under section (b) of that statute, the law spells out the many offenses that are disqualifying. While many of these are felonies, some of the crimes are or can be misdemeanors.
Further, section (c) of this statute prohibits gun ownership for any offenses under the drug and cosmetic act, including misdemeanors, which carry a possible prison sentence of more than two years. Three DUI convictions in a 5-year period will also result in a prohibition on purchasing or transferring firearms.
If a court sentences you for any violation of Act 64 (The Pennsylvania Drug laws) including paraphernalia charges, you will not be able to have a License to Carry a Firearm in PA. So in other words, any misdemeanor drug conviction in Pennsylvania carries with it a lifetime ban on a concealed carry license (properly known as a PA License to Carry a Firearm). If you don’t want to undergo this disqualification, you need to call us now.
A person cannot get a State higher education grant from the State of Pennsylvania if they commit any federal felony offense or any state felony or misdemeanor offense. (22 Pa. C.S. 121.6)
Possession of controlled substance conviction is enough to disqualify a person from getting student loans at a federal level. (20 U.S.C. 1091) It also disqualifies you from any grant or other kind of monetary assistance in paying for education from the federal government. This includes a misdemeanor conviction for this crime. For possession crimes, a first offense makes a person ineligible for one year. A second offense makes a person ineligible for two years. For a third offense, they are ineligible forever. This is an important misdemeanor conviction consequences in Pennsylvania.
According to 18 Pa. C.S.A. 9124(c), professional license boards can deny licenses to applicants only for misdemeanors relevant to the occupation. An employer cannot consider misdemeanors that have no bearing on the occupation at hand to deny a professional license. Many boards do this, but the final call as to whether a misdemeanor is “related to” a profession is sometimes difficult. Certainly, an offense such as “endangering the welfare of children” is relevant to whether a teaching license should be issued, but is it relevant to licensed nutritionists? The argument could be made both ways.
Certain professional licenses have a statutorily prescribed list of crimes that will disqualify a person from getting that license, either for a period or indefinitely. One such example of this is a Private Detective license, under 22 PS. 16, which lists 11 disqualifying misdemeanors, such as lewdness, making terroristic threats, or simple assault.
We encourage you to reach out to The McShane Firm, LLC for more details and assistance as to how a conviction will hurt your job and career.
Pennsylvania utilizes the “Fair Chance” hiring policy. This policy allows individuals with nonviolent criminal records an opportunity to explain their specific circumstances during the hiring process. Pennsylvania employers may screen its potential employees. However, an employer cannot use a conviction record against the individual when the conviction is not relevant to the position applied for. This policy does not affect positions in which a criminal conviction renders the individual ineligible. The policy also does not apply to positions in which the individual would be responsible for safeguarding or security of people or property, law enforcement, or those involving contact with vulnerable populations.
A copy of the policy may be found here: https://www.oa.pa.gov/Policies/hr/Documents/TM001.pdf
But what about the check box on the job application
Potential employers are legally able to ask if the individual applying for a position has a criminal conviction, but the employer is restricted in how they may use the criminal background in the hiring process. (42 USC. § 2000e, et seq.).
When an individual has a criminal record, the EEOC has ruled repeatedly the employers must demonstrate the decision not to hire someone due to their felony convictions/criminal history is justified by a “business necessity.” There are three factors which must be considered:
(i) The nature and gravity of the offense or conduct;
(ii) The time that has passed since the offense or conduct and/or completion of the sentence; and
(iii) The nature of the job held or sought.
There is also a Pennsylvania statue which addresses the use of records for employment which mirrors the rule in place by the EEOC. The potential employer may only consider felony and misdemeanor convictions only to the extent which they relate to the applicant’s suitability for the position. Also, the potential employer must notify the individual if the decision not to hire was based in part or in whole on the criminal history information. (18 Pa.C.S. 9125)
Pennsylvania has determined it is within the best interest of the Commonwealth to:
- IDENTIFY those sexual offenders who are truly predators and allow the sentencing court to impose a lifetime registration on those offenders;
- REGISTER with the Pennsylvania State Police both sexual offenders and Sexually Violent Predators; and
- NOTIFY the communities when those Sexually Violent Predators move into their neighborhood.
Certain misdemeanor sex offenses require registry, including corrupting a minor, unlawful restraint, false imprisonment, luring a child into a motor vehicle or structure, invasion of privacy, and video voyeurism. (42 Pa.C.S. 9799.14). Just because a sex crimes charge is reduced to a misdemeanor, as you can see, there can be important misdemeanor conviction consequences in Pennsylvania that follow.
For the benefit of the Commonwealth, Pennsylvania has determined it is essential to establish a DNA database and data bank. PA Law requires DNA samples to be collected for people convicted of felonies and “other specified offenses.” 44 Pa.C.S. 2303 defines “Other specified offenses” to include any felony offense other than a felony sex offense, any offense under the crimes code or the vehicle code graded as a misdemeanor of the first degree, and certain specific offenses graded as misdemeanors of the second degree.