January 12, 2000
CONSEQUENCES OF A FELONY CONVICTION
By: Christopher Reinhart, Research Attorney
You asked for a list of the consequences (other than a fine and imprisonment) of a felony conviction.
A convicted felon forfeits his right to become an elector and cannot vote, hold public office, or be a candidate for office (CGS § 9-46). But the law allows a person to restore his rights as an elector if he has paid the penalty for his crime. In addition, every elected municipal officer or justice of the peace must be an elector in his town and anyone who ceases to be an elector of the town must immediately cease to hold office (CGS § 9-186).
A person is disqualified from serving as a juror if he has been convicted of a felony within the past seven years or he is a defendant in a pending felony case (CGS § 51-217).
“Megan's Law” requires a person to register on a sex offender's list for certain periods for committing certain sexual offenses (CGS § 54-250 et seq.). The offenses include felonies such as first, second, and third degree sexual assault. Also, anyone convicted of a sex offense requiring registration must provide a DNA sample (CGS § 54-102g, amended by PA 99-183).
It is a criminal offense for a convicted felon to possess a firearm or electronic defense weapon (CGS § 53a-217, amended by PA 99-212, § 1). A convicted felon is ineligible for an eligibility certificate or a permit to carry a pistol or revolver and a certificate or permit is revoked for conviction of a felony (CGS §§ 29-28, 29-36k).
A person could lose a professional license or permit for conviction of a felony. But licensing agencies are restricted in their ability to revoke licenses. A person cannot be disqualified from engaging in any occupation, profession, or business for which a state license or permit is required because of a prior conviction of a crime except under certain conditions. And Connecticut policy encourages employers to hire qualified ex-offenders.
The Department of Children and Families must deny a license or approval for a foster family or prospective adoptive family if any member of the family's household was convicted of a crime that falls within certain categories, which can include felonies.
A person forfeits his right to become an elector (a voter) upon conviction of a felony (CGS § 9-46). But the law allows the right to vote to be restored after he has paid all fines and completed any time served in prison, on parole, or on probation (CGS § 9-46a).
A felon regains the right to vote by (1) contacting any voter registration official and (2) providing written or other satisfactory proof that he has been discharged from confinement, probation, or parole and has paid all conviction-related fines.
It is a criminal offense for a felon to possess a firearm or electronic defense weapon (CGS § 53a-217 amended by PA 99-212 § 1). The law defines a “firearm” as a “sawed-off shotgun, machine gun, rifle, shotgun, pistol, revolver, or other weapon, whether loaded or unloaded from which a shot may be discharged” (CGS § 53a-3(19)). A person convicted of a felony is not eligible for an eligibility certificate or a permit to carry a pistol or revolver and the certificate or permit is automatically revoked for conviction of a felony (CGS §§ 29-28, 29-36k). In addition, the person must transfer any pistols or revolvers to someone eligible to possess them or the Public Safety Commissioner (CGS § 29-36k).
Many statutes authorize agencies to revoke or suspend licenses or permits for conviction of a felony. But the law also restricts the ability of agencies to do so. A person is not “disqualified to practice, pursue or engage in any occupation, trade, vocation, profession or business for which a license, permit, certificate, or registration is required to be issued by the state of Connecticut or any of its agencies solely because of a prior conviction of a crime” (CGS § 46a-80(a)).
Connecticut law declares a public policy of encouraging employers to hire qualified ex-offenders (CGS § 46a-79). A person is not disqualified from state employment solely because of a prior conviction of a crime. The state can deny employment or a license, permit, certificate, or registration if the person is found unsuitable after considering (1) the nature of the crime, (2) information pertaining to the degree of rehabilitation of the person, and (3) the time elapsed since the conviction or release (CGS § 46a-80). These statutes (CGS § 46a-79 et seq.) prevail over agencies' authority to deny licenses based on the lack of good moral character and to suspend or revoke licenses based on conviction of a crime (CGS § 46a-81).
Licenses, Permits And Conviction Of A Felony
Many licensing and permit statutes authorize an agency to suspend or revoke a license or permit based on conviction of a felony, including the following.
1. Architects (CGS § 20-294).
2. Private detectives, watchmen, guards, and patrol services (CGS § 29-158).
3. Professions under the jurisdiction of the Department of Public Health specifically including healing arts, medicine and surgery, osteopathy, chiropractic, natureopathy, podiatry, physical therapists, nursing, nurse's aides, dentistry, optometry, opticians, psychologists, marital and family therapists, clinical social workers, professional counselors, veterinary medicine, massage therapists, dietician-nutritionists, acupuncturists, paramedics, embalmers and funeral directors, barbers, hairdressers and cosmeticians, and hypertrichologists.
4. Attorneys (CGS § 51-91a).
5. Judges, family support magistrates, workers' compensation commissioners (CGS § 51-51i).
6. Radiographers and radiologic technologists (CGS § 20-74cc).
7. Midwives (CGS § 20-86h).
8. Licensees for (a) electrical work; (b) plumbing and piping work; (c) solar, heating, piping, and cooling work; (d) elevator installation, repair, and maintenance work; (e) fire protection sprinkler systems work; (f) irrigation work; and (g) sheet metal work (CGS § 20-334, amended by PA 99-253).
9. Major contractors (CGS § 20-341gg).
10. Lead abatement consultants, contractors, and workers (CGS § 20-481).
11. Public Service Gas Technicians (CGS § 20-540).
12. Public Accountants (CGS § 20-281a).
13. Psychologists (CGS § 20-192).
In addition, statutes prohibit licensing a convicted felon as a pawnbroker (CGS § 21-40) or a professional bondsman (CGS § 29-145). A person convicted of a felony cannot be employed as an agent, operator, assistant, guard, watchman, or patrolman, subject to the general state policy (CGS § 29-156a). The Department of Consumer Protection can suspend, revoke, or refuse to grant or renew a permit for the sale of alcoholic liquor if convicted of a felony (CGS § 30-47).
CGS § 19a-80 allows the commissioner of Department of Public Health to suspend or revoke a day care provider's license if any employee having direct contact with children has been convicted of any felony in which the victim is under age 18.
Licenses, Permits And Certain Crimes
Other licensing and permit statutes include provisions on suspension or revocation on conviction of certain crimes (such as those related to the profession, fraud, or extortion) or lack of good moral character. These could involve felony convictions. These statutes include the following.
1. Consumer collection agencies (for actions of a partner, officer, director, or employee) (CGS § 36a-803).
2. Real estate appraisers (CGS §20-521).
3. Occupational therapists (CGS §20-74g).
4. Real Estate Brokers and Salespersons (CGS §§ 20-316, 20-320).
5. Service dealers, electronics technicians, apprentice electronics technicians, antenna technicians, radio electronics technicians (CGS § 20-354).
6. Sanitarians (CGS § 20-363).
7. Landscape architects (CGS § 20-373).
8. Interior Designers (CGS § 20-377r).
9. Hearing aid dealers (CGS § 20-404).
10. Community Association Managers (CGS § 20-456).
11. Pharmacy licensees (CGS § 20-579).
12. Practitioners distributing, administering, or dispensing controlled substances (CGS § 21a-322).
13. New home construction contractors (PA 99-246).
Law enforcement agencies (which include Sheriff's Department court house security and transportation personnel) are the only governmental entities in the state that by law can deny employment based solely on a person's criminal history (CGS § 46a-81).
Pam Libbey of the Department of Administrative Services (DAS) reports that the department does not have a policy specifying when background checks must be done for state job applicants, and each agency sets its own rules. Her search of recent DAS job specifications revealed that satisfactory background check reports, which she says include criminal history checks, were required for permanent appointment to some Liquor Control, Animal Control, Environmental Protection, Labor, Corrections, Revenue Services, Consumer Protection, State Police, Medical Examiner, Motor Vehicles, and Military department jobs. Recently filled state positions for which a criminal conviction appears to be an automatic disqualification include environmental protection supervisor; consumer protection, drug control division director and assistant director; state police forensic science laboratory, director and assistant director; residential facility supervisor; and forensic head nurse.
FOSTER FAMILIES AND ADOPTION
The Department of Children and Families (DCF) must deny a license or approval for a foster family or prospective adoptive family if any member of the family's household was convicted of a crime that falls within certain categories of crimes, such as (1) injury or risk of injury to a minor; (2) impairing the morals of a minor or similar offenses; (3) violent crimes against a person;(4) possession, use, or sale of controlled substances within five years; and (5) illegal use of a firearm or similar offenses (Conn. Reg. § 17a-145-152). These crimes include felonies. DCF can also refuse to renew a license for the same reasons.