If you have committed criminal offenses in the past, the consequences can continue in various ways even after completing your sentence. A criminal record can disqualify you from certain types of employment and may even restrict your options for housing. You could lose custody of your children, lose your right to own firearms, face a permanent driver’s license revocation, and immigrants risk compromising their immigration status. A criminal record will also usually lead to harsher penalties if you break the law again in the future. It’s vital to understand how deeply a criminal record can affect your life and what you can do about it.
Problems with Employment
Although not every employer will run background checks on job applicants, every employer has the right to do so if they wish. Some employers are wary of applicants who have certain types of criminal histories. For example, a retail manager in charge of a store full of high-value merchandise like jewelry or small electronics would probably not want to hire someone with a record for burglary or theft. A daycare center would likely refuse to hire an individual with a record of child abuse. If you committed any type of fraud, a finance firm would likely prefer another candidate.
These types of organizations run background checks on job applicants to make sure they do not pose a threat to the business or its customers. They also conduct these checks to remain in compliance with acceptable hiring standards and avoid charges of negligent recruitment. Some employers require security clearances for their operations, and may deem a person with a criminal record as a security risk.
A criminal background check will typically include:
- Personal information, such as the subject’s name, age, birth date, and driver’s license.
- Description of identifying marks such as physical features, tattoos, birthmarks, scars, etc.
- Past criminal convictions, including both misdemeanors and felonies.
- A list of current and past addresses for the subject of the background check.
- Prior arrest warrants.
- Tax liens, both federal and state.
- Past bankruptcies, both federal and state.
- A list of known family members.
- Prior marriage and divorce records.
- Property ownership details.
Unfortunately, no matter how much you regret your past mistakes, a criminal record will stick with you for a very long time, if not the rest of your life. Additionally, other aspects of your past crimes, such as sex offender status, may restrict your living options s well as employment opportunities. For example, a person with a record of sexual abuse of a minor may not have permission to reside within a certain number of miles from a school or work in any position that involves interacting with children.
What Can I Do About My Record?
If you are planning to enter a job interview, being honest and showing genuine remorse for your criminal record can actually go quite a long way with a potential employer. Some employers will acknowledge the fact that people make mistakes and may be willing to give a former criminal a chance. It’s also a great idea to compile a list of solid references of past coworkers and employers who can vouch for you.
Another option for dealing with your criminal record is to apply for record sealing or expungement. Only some individuals will have this option several years after completing their sentences. Depending on the severity of the past charges, this may only be an option after five to ten years. The person applying for a sealed record or expungement must submit a formal application and make a compelling argument for such a request. If approved, the public will no longer have access to sealed or expunged criminal records. If you have questions about either process or the other ways a criminal record can complicate your life, contact a reliable criminal defense attorney.