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6 Ways a Criminal Record is Affecting Your Life

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Having a criminal record can make many things substantially hard to do. It puts various limitations on your life. Even if you have only one small offense on your back, it could still greatly impact you and your future.

Some of the things that having a criminal record will get you are obvious, but many of them might surprise you.  Did you know that you could potentially be restricted to travel or immigrate to other countries? That is just one of the many difficulties you could face after you finished serving your time.

Still, the most important thing is to be prepared for everything that awaits you if you get a criminal record and to be aware of your rights and ways to move on with your life. In this article, we will discuss all the possible hardships you could face as an ex-convict and the ways of dealing with them.

Searching for jobs

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One of the most important things you need to get your life in order after serving a sentence is to find a steady job. Unfortunately, being convicted of a crime could make this process a bit tricky. Your potential employers are allowed to do background checks, and being arrested in the past isn’t exactly a plus in their eyes. It would be hard for people to trust you when you had a troublesome past. You could even be banned from entering specific professions for the rest of your life. Those professions include nursing, bank employees, teachers, law enforcement, and more.

Your education, previous work experience, all of it can become useless when you have a criminal past. The job market is incredibly competitive as it is, and having a record could be a huge drawback. The only jobs you will be able to get will be underpaid jobs where competition is not that big.

Inability to travel

As we mentioned before, traveling as an ex-convict could be a bit difficult. Working abroad may even be impossible. Many countries do background checks and can deny you entry if you have a criminal record. Even if they let you enter, they will probably thoroughly search you or even interrogate you at the border, which would make traveling extremely uncomfortable and slow. If a border official does interrogate you be honest and answer every question truthfully and in detail.

Before you pack your bags and book your flight, do some research about the laws of the country you are traveling to. It could save you from wasting your money on nothing.

Access to foreign visas

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If you are arrested at a foreign country you can expect to be deported, and possibly denied entry for the rest of your life. This is extremely unfortunate if you started building a life in that country, as you will probably be banned to even enter it.

Other than that, acquiring foreign citizenship will now become close to impossible. Your dream of moving to a faraway country and starting over is something you can forget about.

Insurance

If you had a criminal past, getting insured becomes a bit more difficult. The first thing you should know is that you are legally required to disclose information on your criminal record. The insurance company is allowed to refuse to insure you,  or request a higher price for your insurance. Naturally, your offense has to be in some way connected to the subject of insurance.  If you were convicted a long time ago, and if your conviction has little to do with insurance policy, the insurer has no right to reject your claim.

Keep in mind that you’ll have to disclose all the risks that will come with insuring you. This is the most important thing in the whole process and it could save you from tons of complications. Be honest and know your rights.

Housing

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Homelessness in ex-convicts is a really big problem in the USA. This is mostly due to the fact that many landlords simply refuse to rent their places to ex-convicts. They are allowed to do background checks, and someone who has a criminal record is simply not a good candidate.  The best way is to actively look for landlords who offer their services to former prisoners, as there are many of them who were in the same situation themselves. Also, always make sure to be completely honest and upfront about your criminal past. Disclose it to your landlord before they get the chance to uncover it via a background check.

Other than that, people who were convicted in the past can be denied access to public housing. This depends on the nature of the conviction itself, as some more violent offenses can make you seem dangerous to other occupants living in the facility.

Custody

Custody battles are always a messy thing. The focus is, of course, finding out which parent will provide a better environment for the child. Having a criminal record, as you may expect, would be a huge red flag for a judge.

Finding a job, proper housing, and getting insurance are also important things to consider, as they affect your ability to provide for your child. As you’ll probably have difficulties with those, chances are you’ll lose the custody battle, no matter how great of a parent you are.

Can you get rid of your criminal record?

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The answer is yes, yes you can. It’s a complicated process, and mostly depends on the nature of your crime, but it’s possible. This is a great way to start anew and move on from your past actions.

The most important thing is to check if you’re eligible for an expunction or not. Do some research on your state laws to find more information. Additionally, a good idea is to seek professional advice, since many things do depend on the details of your case. There are many different ways to learn more about the expungement process. For example, RecordPurge has a great eligibility test you can use.

This may be the best way to truly move on from your past, but be sure to inform yourself properly and ask for professional advice so you don’t end up wasting time and money for no purpose.


Peter is a freelance writer with more than eight years of experience covering topics in politics. He was one of the guys that were here when the foreignpolicyi.org started.

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