We all know that having a criminal record can leave quite a negative impact on your life. Life after being convicted could change drastically. You’ll be met with tons of different difficulties while trying to move on from your past actions. This is true for everyone with a criminal record, no matter if they were charged with a serious crime or a minor misdemeanor.
The negative effects of a criminal record can last for a lifetime. In this article, we will go over all of the consequences you will face after getting charged with a crime and discuss their impact on your life. Before we begin, let’s have a quick look at everything that can be done to minimize these negative effects.
Can you clear or seal your record?
In most cases, yes, you can. Depending on your case you could be eligible for expungement, which is the best way to put your past behind you. There are many places like RecordPurge, where you can find everything you need to start the expungement process.
If you are not eligible for expungement, there is still a way to minimize the impacts of your criminal record, by getting the Order of nondisclosure. This will essentially “seal” your record and help you move on with your life.
Of course, make sure to research your state laws before you start the process of sealing or destroying your record. The best way to go about it is to get professional advice because many things depend on the specific details of your case.
The social stigma
This is probably the most obvious negative outcome of being an ex-convict. People with a criminal record are looked down upon in many situations. Society will treat them differently just because of their criminal past. It even happens to people wrongly accused or charged with a crime, and it probably won’t change any time soon.
This has a very big impact on an ex-convict’s life. It’s not just their neighbors giving them the evil eye, it’s much more than that. This affects their future employers and landlords, making their life a lot more difficult than it should be. Somebody trying their best to move on from their past actions should be met with support, not judgment. Still, it is what it is, and having to deal with such problems is simply something that comes with having a criminal record.
The psychological impact of being in jail for some time can be huge. This of course depends on the nature of the crime and on the amount of time spent behind bars. Many ex-prisoners have trouble with mental issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder for example. The prison is not a very nice place to be in, and a lot of violence happens behind its walls. This could leave people with tons of psychological damage since they spent so much time in such a rough environment.
Criminal records and searching for employment
This is probably the biggest consequence you’ll have to deal with. Finding a good job is extremely important to bring your life back on track, and your criminal past will present an enormous obstacle. Many employers will do background checks of their candidates, and being convicted in the past could invalidate your whole resume.
Other than that, it could completely ban you from getting the necessary licenses to get into some professions. No matter how well educated and experienced you are, your employers are likely to see you as someone who is not reliable and responsible enough. Even if you get the job, they can find about your record later on, and you may be fired for that. So, whatever you do, disclose everything about your past criminal activity to your employers and hope for the best. Getting a job may be harder than before, but it’s still not impossible.
Finally, most high paying jobs will now be out of your reach. The competition for such jobs is tremendously big, and your potential employers won’t look kindly on your criminal past. Unfortunately, this is not something temporary, as your record will follow you for the rest of your life.
Difficulties in finding housing
Finding a place to live as a person with a criminal record is a demanding task. Potential landlords are prone to doing a background check on their tenants to ensure they are letting a person they can trust inside their property. If you lost contact with your family and friends while in prison this could be a huge problem. Even temporary housing is now harder to acquire, and you could be left homeless if not prepared.
The most important thing to remember is that being honest and upfront with your potential landlord can go a long way. Don’t hide your criminal past and with enough luck, you may be able to find a permanent place to live.
Traveling and immigration restrictions
Many countries have travel policies against people who were involved in criminal activities. You could be prohibited from entering certain countries. The most important thing is to do your research about the country you are traveling to, but also to be aware of all details stated on your criminal record.
When it comes to immigrating and getting work permits and residence permits in foreign countries, while it depends on the country, it’s pretty difficult if not impossible to achieve.
Unfortunately, in most cases, adopting a child while being previously convicted of a crime is very hard to do. It mostly depends on your conviction. If your criminal activity was somehow connected with sexual misconduct or if it involved minors in any way, you will be completely banned from adopting a child.
Even if your crimes are minor, you could still face hardships when trying to adopt a child. Be prepared to be questioned excessively about your case, and answer everything accurately and with no reservations. You must prove you don’t present any danger to others around you and that you are a trustworthy person able to provide and care for the child.
Being convicted of a crime could impact your life in a major way. Many essential things like housing and employment will be difficult to obtain. The best way to deal with this is to try to clear your record by expunction or through a nondisclosure order.