Few things could darken a bright career as a drug charge would. New York treats these offenses seriously, and the consequences can be severe.
Yet, it may encourage you to know that not all arrests end with a guilty verdict. According to a New York state report, in 2019, just over 63% of felony arrests resulted in convictions. With a proper defense, your case may result in a dismissal or reduced charges. Still, you may worry about your job. While your case is pending, you need to continue supporting your family and furthering your career. So, what can you expect?
Your past may affect your future in two main ways. First, judges typically sentence repeat offenders to longer periods of imprisonment than they do first-time offenders. A longer sentence means more time away from your job, which may lead to job loss. Second, if the discharge of your previous sentence was less than 10 years ago, you may not be eligible for record sealing. That may limit future promotions or employment prospects.
Much of what happens at your current workplace depends on your company’s policies. While charges are pending, your employer may implement disciplinary action or terminate your employment, as long as doing so does not violate any applicable collective bargaining agreements. Your employer may also request that you provide information about your case. You may need to present proof of the final ruling.
State law protects New Yorkers against employment discrimination, according to the New York Department of Labor. Prospective employers can legally ask about pending arrests, current accusations and past convictions. Certain convictions may prevent you from receiving a job offer, depending on job duties and how they relate to the offense.
Employers may not ask about legal matters that did not result in a conviction. It is also unlawful for an employer to inquire about sealed records. If courts convict you of a crime, get your record sealed as soon as you are eligible to do so. One mistake does not have to put an end to your career.