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The Impact of a Criminal Record


Research suggests that between 70 million and 100 million Americans have some type of criminal record. Unfortunately, having even a minor criminal record, like a misdemeanor or an arrest without conviction, can adversely affect many aspects of your life for a long time. Because of the long-lasting effects a criminal record can have on your life, it is crucial that you do everything you can to maintain a clean record. However, you should not feel hopeless if you already have a criminal record. You may be able to expunge or seal your criminal record. Expunging or sealing a criminal record means legally clearing or restricting access to your criminal record.

How Can a Criminal Record Impact Your Life?

A criminal record brings many challenges. The following are some of the challenges and setbacks associated with having a criminal record;

  1. Difficulty Securing a Job

When you have a criminal record, it can be hard to get a job. A majority of employers check criminal records when hiring. If an employer finds that you have ever been arrested or convicted, it might be hard for you to get the job, especially if it demands trust and great responsibility. For example, a past robbery or burglary conviction could be seen as an indication of untrustworthiness. Even if your arrest or conviction happened years ago, it could impact your ability to secure employment.

  1. Difficulty Finding Housing

Some landlords and property managers conduct criminal background checks on potential tenants. A criminal record could result in the rejection of your rental application. Some criminal records can even bar you from subsidized housing. Unfortunately, not only does being unable to secure housing because of a criminal record affect people with criminal records, but it also affects their families.

  1. Education Barriers

Some educational institutions, such as those offering programs leading to professional licensure, may consider criminal history during the application process. A criminal record can prevent you from being admitted into a college or university. You may also be denied financial support due to your criminal record.

  1. Disqualification From Obtaining or Renewing Professional Licenses

Some convictions can disqualify people from obtaining or renewing their professional licenses in fields such as medicine, law, and accounting.

  1. Loan Application Denials

It is not uncommon for banks and other financial institutions to deny people with criminal records loans and other forms of financial assistance. Financial institutions usually view people with criminal records as high-risk. Being denied loans can make starting a business, owning a home, and many other undertakings difficult.

  1. Social Stigma

Having a criminal record can lead to social stigma and prejudice. It can affect your relationship with family, friends, and the community. People may distance themselves from you, resulting in a lack of support when you need it the most.

Expungement and Sealing of Criminal Records

Criminal record expungement or sealing can offer a fresh start by legally erasing or limiting public access to your criminal record. Several factors affect your eligibility for expungement or sealing. A qualified criminal defense attorney can help determine if you are eligible for criminal record sealing or expungement.

Contact Us for Legal Help

If you’ve been arrested, charged, or need help determining if you are eligible for criminal record sealing or expungement, contact our skilled NYC criminal attorney, Mark I. Cohen, Esq.

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