Your public record is an extremely important part of your livelihood in many ways. Every time you have some sort of a public affair, such as changing your name, getting married, or even get a traffic ticket, it is notated in the public record. Your criminal history is also a part of this record, and arguably the most important one. Whenever you are convicted of a crime, your action and sentence are noted and remain there for the rest of your life. When this is the case, even though you may have served your sentence, your debt to society may continue. Let's look at some of the lasting consequences of having an entry in your criminal history.
A criminal background check is about as commonplace a part of any job application and as your name and contact information these days. Nobody wants to hire someone who has a history of problems in the industry they're working for, so employers protect themselves by making sure those they select to work for them are as low-risk as possible. Any criminal history could present a substantially higher risk. If you have been convicted of a theft crime, it's extremely unlikely that you'll be hired for a position that involves working with merchandise or handling money. Convicted of assault? Assault is seen as an automatic complete bar on working in the medical profession. Accept a plea deal on a sex crime charge? You won't be able to work with children, seniors, or any other vulnerable population. Those looking to obtain a commercial driver's license will usually find their applications rejected if they have any history of drug or alcohol-related offenses, especially a DUI.
It may come as a surprise to you, but you could struggle to find a place to live if you have a criminal conviction in your history. Apartment complexes and mortgage lenders are now looking at criminal histories to determine who is trustworthy enough. Apartment complexes are frequently turning down those with drug-related offenses mainly because they don't want any risk of having the police raid their home to make an arrest and seize evidence. Lenders will often look for any previous criminal history to determine whether or not you'll make your payments on time, or if they'll have to go chase you down or foreclose your property to recover their investment.
Depending on the nature of your charges and whether or not your case is high-profile in nature, you could face an increased amount of social stress in the aftermath of your case. This is particularly true for those who face charges of serious crimes, such as violent or sex crimes, particularly against loved ones. Even if these cases turn out to be false and your charges are dropped, it's much tougher to convince the public of your innocence in the aftermath. Don't expect to receive a lot of warm welcomes when you visit new places, particularly if your case is one with news media involved.
Those who are convicted of a felony crime will lose several of their rights as well. Felons are by law prohibited from owning a firearm. You also won't have the ability to vote in any election, be it federal, state, or local. Convicted felons are also usually forbidden from holding any form of public office, including law enforcement or even firefighting jobs.
Clearing Your Record
Criminal convictions can be devastating, even for those who were convicted before they reach the age of 18. But if you're suffering from the consequences, there could be a way to find relief. Pick up the phone and call a Murfreesboro criminal defense lawyer to discuss the expungement process and find out if you qualify.
Expungement is the process of destroying your criminal history and wiping it from your public record, making it almost as though it didn't happen. Once this is the case, you won't have to disclose the conviction any further, and those who run a public background check on you won't find any prohibitive entries keeping you down.
Not everyone is eligible for expungement. First off, only those who have one criminal conviction can have their record erased. Those found guilty of multiple charges or with multiple guilty convictions on their record cannot have their record expunged. Second, those who have just been released from jail are also ineligible; you must wait a mandatory minimum of five years after the completion of your sentence before you qualify for expungement. Third, you must have completed all of your court-ordered obligations, such as finishing an alcohol education class or completing your probation period.
Finally, your conviction must be eligible for expungement, as certain types of crimes cannot be eliminated from your record. Most felonies are ineligible for expungement, while most misdemeanors are. However, the list of exempt misdemeanors is fairly long, and includes most violent, destructive, or sex-related misdemeanor crimes. It's strongly advised you ask an attorney if you qualify or expungement, and get assistance with the process if you wish to pursue this route.
To find out more about the expungement process, call The Clarke Law Firm today at (615) 796-6299 to request a free consultation and learn whether or not you qualify!