Because almost anyone can use the information against you, there are a number of reasons to seek expunction of a dismissal or conviction from court records and your criminal record.
Some of the more significant ways in which your record can be used against you are as follows:
- Employment – Employers often perform background checks on potential employees and current employees. Law requires a background check for some positions including many that involve caring for children. Reasons why others would want to search criminal records are probably evident. While they don’t need a good reason not to hire you, anything that helps an employer to filter the numerous applications that they receive for every position available is welcomed. As for current employees, employers may want to check and make sure that their employees have not committed criminal acts, especially if the offense relates to work responsibilities. Larceny would be a prime example of an offense that most employers would find relevant.
- Education – Schools may perform background checks on students that have applied for admission. Since they are charged with maintaining security on their campuses and within student housing, there are numerous reasons why they would think criminal records important. Schools are not alone in wanting to know about convictions, however. Drug related offenses can disqualify students from receiving financial aid from the federal government in the form of grants, loans and work study.
- Financial – Lending institutions base decisions about loans and interest rates on the information contained in your criminal record. As already noted, certain drug offenses will disqualify you from obtaining federal student loans. Other federal programs including government housing and food stamps may be impacted by a criminal record, even if it’s just a dismissal. Insurance companies may also use your record to deny insurance or justify higher premiums because you are a high risk.
- Housing – While there are groups that cannot be discriminated against when potential landlords select tenants, criminals is not one of them. Since they are charged with maintaining lawful conduct on their property, property owners often use criminal records to identify potential problems. As already noted, government housing options can be limited by a criminal record.
- Licensing and Certifications – Almost all professional licenses require proof of “good character,” and most criminal convictions may be considered o demonstrate a lack of the same. If you have a criminal record when you apply, the licensing board may deny your license. You can also lose your license for a criminal conviction. In the latter case, if your conviction is expunged, the licensing board is required to remove that information from its records and cannot consider the conviction when you reapply for licensure.
- Firearms – Convicted felons cannot lawfully purchase, own, possess or have in their custody or control any firearm.
- Foster Care and Adoptions – State law requires a criminal background check for anyone seeking to provide foster care for or adopt a child. While most offenses that would disqualify you to provide these services are not eligible for expunction, there are exceptions.
As these examples indicate, there are many reasons to seek expunction of court records and your criminal record. In each example, cleaning up your past may help you regain rights and achieve your goals.
The laws that determine what can be erased are somewhat complicated. Xpunctions.com can provide a free consultation to determine whether you qualify for an expunction, also known as an expungement, under state statutes. Call, email or use the Contact Form on this website for additional information.