How would you feel knowing that your lawyer was convicted of a felony? Some people cannot even imagine that type of scenario happening. However, if you have a felony conviction, you can still apply for the bar and become a lawyer in California.
Out of the 50 states in America, only three forbid convicted felons from becoming lawyers: Kansas, Mississippi, and Texas. If you want to become a lawyer in California, you can still apply even with a felony conviction. This does not mean that it will not be difficult. Learn more about becoming a lawyer, even with a criminal history, with these frequently asked questions.
Can You Work as an Attorney if You Have a Felony Conviction on Your Record?
Yes. You can still apply for a license to practice law even with a felony conviction. It is more common than many think for lawyers currently practicing law to have some type of criminal record. It may not be a felony conviction, but many lawyers practice law despite their criminal history.
However, other factors can affect whether applicants receive their law license despite their felony conviction. One of the most important factors is transparency. Applicants want to be as honest as possible regarding their past felony convictions.
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What Is a Moral Character Exam?
There are two portions of the bar application that future lawyers must pass. The first is the bar exam, and the second is the moral character exam. The moral character exam is where every aspect of your past life – including your criminal record – is reviewed.
This information is used to determine whether you are a person of good moral character, which you must be to pass the bar.
The moral character exam is the best time to disclose all information about your felony conviction. The last thing you want to do is hide your criminal history or character flaws during this part of the application. As always, speak with an experienced criminal defense lawyer if you face a criminal charge in California.
What Happens if I Try to Conceal My Felony Conviction?
Attempting to conceal your felony conviction will have dire consequences. It may cause your bar application to be denied. Your moral character exam is the time to be honest about your felony conviction.
Being honest about your felony conviction will show the state’s licensing authority the true nature of your character. Whether you have been convicted of a felony or not, each applicant must prove that they are a person of good moral character. There is no better way to show integrity than to be as transparent as possible about your past.
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How Can I Build My Credibility with California’s Licensing Authority?
To build credibility with California’s licensing authority, you must show proof of rehabilitation. Proof of rehabilitation is evidence that suggests your character is in good standing. Each state has different requirements for showing proof of rehabilitation. For example, some states may require applicants to wait before applying until a specific time has passed.
No matter what evidence is used, it must show a consistent pattern of growth and maturity. From the time between your felony conviction and your application process, this pattern of rehabilitation must be established.
When you try to conceal a felony conviction from the state’s licensing authority, that also reflects your moral character. It is sharing that your moral character is not as trustworthy as it was once assumed.
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What Are Some Career Options for Convicted Felons in Law?
Your felony conviction may not prevent you from practicing law in your state, but it may affect what type of lawyer you can become. Let us suppose that you have a felony conviction for theft. It may be difficult for you to become a finance lawyer. You may have a better chance of practicing personal injury law.
What Does It Mean to Have Your Civil Rights Restored?
When you have been convicted of a felony, your civil rights have been lost or suspended. Some civil rights that have been forfeited include the right to vote, the right to participate in jury duty, and the right to hold public office.
Once you have served your time for your felony conviction, you can request to have your civil rights restored. There are several ways that your rights can be restored. A governor can decide to pardon you. You can also apply for a pardon through several federal agencies.
How Important Is Redemption in My Bar Application Process?
Throughout your bar application, you must show how you changed following your felony conviction. You want to show the licensing authority for the state of California that you are not the same person that you were following your felony conviction. You want to supplement your application with documentation showing that you are taking intentional steps to build yourself up and your character.
How Can Simmrin Law Group Help Me?
When you want a law firm to help assess your bar application, work with the lawyers at the Simmrin Law Group today. Who better to ask about the application process than a lawyer who has also gone through it?
Our lawyers are passionate about helping our clients as much as possible. We can answer your questions about the application process and the role that your felony conviction will play. We can also offer advice that you can use to navigate through the application process.
How Can I Contact a Criminal Defense Lawyer from the Simmrin Law Group?
You can always contact us online for a free case evaluation. You also have the option of calling our law firm. Our legal team is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Speak with a lawyer from the Simmrin Law Group when you are ready to have your bar application approved.
Call our office, or submit our contact form to schedule an appointment with a California criminal defense lawyer today. We will ensure that your rights are protected throughout the legal process.
Call or text (310) 896-2723 or complete a Free Case Evaluation form