A criminal record can be detrimental to your future. It can prevent you from doing many things you’d normally do. And this can be true whether you committed petty theft or grand larceny. And why should your past haunt you forever, especially if you’ve moved on to a better life of making better choices?
Many people don’t realize that this doesn’t have to be their reality. There are many people with various levels of criminal histories who are eligible for expungement. If they are, they may be able to get their arrest records completely wiped out or at least sealed from public view. And there are many reasons why someone might wish to do so.
1] To get a job
Most companies perform background checks on potential employees, and a criminal history is usually a black mark against you. Some employers don’t even consider how long ago the crime was or how severe it was.
They might even have strict policies that prevent them from hiring anyone with any type of criminal record. And unfortunately, it is very much within their legal rights to do so. This can be particularly true when you’re seeking a career in the fields of law enforcement, health care, or other similar industries.
2] To obtain professional licensure
Careers that require state licensing usually subject applicants to background checks that include criminal histories. These careers include fields like nursing, real estate, certified public accounting, teaching, and engineering, to name a few.
Some of these licensing entities only look for felonies, while some can discriminate based on the type of crime. For example, any type of drug crime could easily keep you from ever participating in the healthcare field. But once a record is expunged, it is illegal for them to discriminate against you, even if they’ve already seen it.
3] To receive government assistance
Many crimes, particularly felonies, prevent you from ever receiving any type of government assistance. This can include housing assistance, food stamps, or even legal aid. And if you’re trying to get back on your feet, this can hinder your progress.
But it can also increase recidivism and family hardships. It’s especially true in many states that have a lifetime ban on criminals receiving the assistance. But in most cases, if your record is expunged, you’ll once again be eligible for these benefits.
4] To buy a gun
Federal law prevents people with certain crimes on their records from purchasing firearms. These crimes can be as small as a misdemeanor domestic violence offense, or as big as a felony drug charge.
Some of these restrictions come with time limits, while some will haunt you for life. Having the offending crime expunged will usually let you buy firearms again, but it’s important to also check your state laws for further restrictions.
5] To protect your reputation
Did you know that it’s very common nowadays for people to perform background checks on people they want to date? This is especially true in the online dating world, where everyone is unsure about their potential partners. And this may be an unfair assessment of who you are now, but it could cost you the relationship of your dreams.
But dating isn’t the only scenario where a previous crime could wreck your personal life. Any friend or acquaintance can accidentally run across it and spread the news.
Because it’s so easy to find criminal records online, many people wish to restore their good names by wiping them out completely. And this may be the most important reason of all to have a crime expunged.