The Longterm Effects of a Criminal Record
When someone is charged with a crime, there is an immediate reaction. People experience fear, anxiety and stress when they are arrested. But what about the longterm effects of being found guilty? A conviction either creates or adds to a criminal record — something that can follow a person for the rest of their life.
A criminal record, like a driving record, is a detailed history of a person’s encounters with the court system. When a person has been convicted of a crime, they are said to have a criminal record. Even a single conviction constitutes a record that can have implications on a person’s future. Included on a criminal record are local and state charges that are often public, and federal charges that may only be seen during a background check.
The Effects of a Criminal Record
There are several effects that a criminal record can have. Some are immediate and some are only felt in the future when a person attempts to make a purchase, seek a new job or is charged with another crime. Here are some of those effects:
Sentencing: When a person is charged with a subsequent crime, a judge may choose to look at their criminal record when determining sentencing. Penalties for the new conviction may be more severe if the person has been convicted of a crime in the past.
Employment: A criminal record often makes it more difficult for a person to secure employment. Even though it is typically illegal to discriminate based upon a person’s past convictions, it still occurs — just under other pretenses (i.e., “You don’t have the right qualifications.”).
Child Custody: A criminal record can limit a parent’s custodial rights. This is especially true when the conviction is for a crime of violence.
Professional License: Some people may find that they cannot obtain or maintain a professional license if they have a criminal record, especially a license involving working with children. This, again, is typically true when the conviction is for a violent crime.
Having a criminal record can severely impact a person’s life. The good news is that some records can be expunged or “restricted” after a period of time. This is a process that must be undertaken in court. A person with a criminal record must apply to have their record erased or sealed, and it is not guaranteed.
Of course, the best way to not find yourself with a criminal record is not to commit a crime. Unfortunately, things happen and mistakes are made. Once people have a criminal record, it is too late to go back and make different decisions. A person can only hope to be able to clear their record in the future and must deal with the implications of a criminal record for the coming years.
If you are arrested for a crime in Atlanta, mounting a strong defense is your best option. Call the office of Hawkins Spizman Fortas to schedule an appointment for a free case evaluation. We will review the details of your arrest and charges and help you make the legal choices that are best for your unique situation.