It has been said that “America is the land of the second chance – and when the gates of the prison open, the path ahead should lead to a better life.” Yet ex-offenders sometimes struggle to rebuild their lives beyond the prison door. It is, however, possible in many instances for former offenders, such as someone convicted of a felony DUI, to obtain a civil service job. Even with a criminal record, you can be hired by many government agencies.

Working for the Federal Government

According to USSA Jobs, a criminal record will not bar you from federal employment. The Offices of Personnel Management (or other hiring agency) will, of course, take into account your criminal history when deciding if you are suitable for the job in question, but a conviction will not automatically rule you out. You may, however, be excluded from positions that would require you to transport, receive, or possess firearms.

Working for State and Local Governments

Hiring policies differ from state to state and from city to city even within a single state. However, state and local governments are increasingly moving in the direction of giving ex-offenders a second chance. For example, the city of Ann Arbor, Michigan recently adopted a new hiring policy that removed all references to felony convictions from most city employment applications. Check with your state or local government to confirm its hiring policy with regard to ex-offenders.

Factors Influencing Your Hiring Chances

When considering whether or not to hire and ex-offenders for a civil service job, federal, state, and local governments will consider a number of factors:

  1. The frequency of your misconduct. A fourth DUI conviction, for example, is more likely to bar you from employment than a second one.
  2. The nature of your misconduct, and whether it relates to the job. A DUI conviction would be more likely to prevent you from being hired as a bus driver than as an office worker, for instance.
  3. The recentness of the offense. The longer you go without reoffending, the greater your chances of receiving a civil service job offer.
  4. Evidence of rehabilitation. Potential government employers will consider questions such as – What have you accomplished since leaving prison? Do you have good references? How was your conduct while in prison?

You can be hired for a civil service job even with a criminal record, but make sure that you don’t hold back any information when you apply for your government job. Answer any questions about your criminal record truthfully.


Image Credit: Harron Law DWI Attorney