Can a Felon Have an LLC?
A felony conviction can extend beyond the courthouse and into your work life. As a convicted felon, you have the right to operate your own company, including a limited liability company. However, the type of business you are permitted to engage in may be curtailed. State and federal laws put limits on licensure for certain professionals and service providers.
When you are convicted of a felony, the effects can last far after your prison sentence ends. The collateral consequences of a felony conviction can include disqualification from serving on a jury, inability to own a gun or disqualification from running for public office.
As a rule, being a convicted felon does not prevent you from owning your own business. A limited liability company, or LLC, is one form of business ownership. Other forms of business ownership include sole proprietorships, partnerships and corporations. As a convicted felon, you are permitted to operate an LLC. Like any other LLC owner, you must follow your state’s administrative requirements for forming and maintaining your business. This usually includes filing paperwork called Articles of Organization with your state Secretary of State’s office, maintaining the required documentation and paying the necessary fees.
While your status as a convicted felon will not interfere with your establishment of an LLC, it might cause you difficulty in obtaining a license to operate specific types of businesses. Many states restrict licensure for real estate brokers and salespeople, insurance brokers and private investigators as well as other professionals and service providers who have been convicted of certain felony offenses.
Some states allow individuals to seek a document called a Certificate of Relief From Disabilities. This certificate, granted by a judge, allows a convicted felon to request that a licensing board or an employer consider his entire history, including the circumstances leading to his conviction and his actions since that time. A Certificate of Relief From Disabilities is one of several methods with which convicted felons have been successful in securing licenses to operate businesses from which they otherwise would have been excluded.
If you are a convicted felon who wishes to form an LLC, but you are concerned that your criminal background might prevent you from operating your business of choice, consult an attorney. She can confirm whether your conviction presents a potential roadblock to opening your business and, if it does, she can help you explore options for working around any difficulties.