When you’re convicted of a crime, you acquire a criminal record. Even if you’re found guilty of something minor, such as disorderly conduct or misdemeanor DUI, you still face the consequences of a criminal record, which can affect you for years to come.
Once you have a record, it becomes accessible to the public. Meaning, if you ever apply for a job, security clearance, a professional license, or try to join the military, your criminal record can and will come up on a routine background check.
Unfortunately, it’s very difficult to escape the stigma of a criminal record; there are many situations where it will adversely affect your life, especially as it pertains to various employment opportunities. Here are some examples:
Immigration: While a petty shoplifting offense shouldn’t lead to deportation, many crimes are considered “deportable offenses” under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). For example, domestic violence, drug possession, felony DUI, identity theft, immigration fraud, and sexual assault among other crimes can all place a Green Card holder in removal proceedings.
Travel: Some countries, such as Canada will bar people with recent criminal convictions from entering their countries. So, while a defendant may be able to obtain a U.S. passport, they may be barred from entering certain countries.
Child Custody: A criminal conviction for a drug-related offense, DUI, domestic violence, or a sex-related or violent crime can affect child custody. However, many other types of offenses can affect a defendant’s parental rights, especially when incarceration is involved.
Employment: Any criminal conviction can affect employment opportunities. One reason is because some employers have strict policies against hiring people with criminal records, even if it’s for a misdemeanor DUI.
Housing: Many property managers, apartment managers and landlords will not let people with criminal records rent or lease their properties.
Professional Licenses: In many occupations, a criminal conviction can bar someone from receiving a professional license. This alone can affect someone’s entire career.
College Scholarships: In some situations, if a student is applying for a college scholarship and it’s between them and another applicant, the criminal record can tip the scales in the other applicant’s favor. Also, a criminal record can be a deal breaker for institutions that provide scholarships to students.
College Admittance: A criminal record can bar students from being admitted into certain colleges.
Military Careers: Depending on the nature of the offense, a criminal conviction can prevent someone from joining the military. If convicted while in the Armed Forces, it can lead to a reduction in rank and pay grade and it can destroy a military career.
Security Clearance: In order to receive security clearance, applicants must pass a rigorous background check. A conviction can certainly lead to the denial of a security clearance.
Driving Privileges: When you are convicted of certain crimes, it can affect your driving privileges.
Right to Bear Arms: A criminal record can affect your rights to own, possess and purchase firearms. Learn more about “prohibited possessors” under Section 790.23 of the Florida Statutes.
Voting Rights: A criminal record can affect your civil rights, including the right to vote in a presidential election.
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