Sometimes even good people can do stupid things that result in them being charged and/or convicted with a criminal offense. Unfortunately, having a criminal record can have lasting repercussions on your life. Even once the case is over, you still have to disclose it in certain instances. Failure to do so could result in even more punitive actions.
Here are a few areas where your criminal record may have an impact and two ways to reduce the impact your record has.
Most employment applications ask if you have been convicted of anything more than a minor traffic violation. While answering yes does not always eliminate you from obtaining the job, you can rest assured it will result in further questions from your potential employer.
While some employers are willing to consider the charges and the time that has elapsed since the offense, other employers are not as forgiving. Sometimes simply answering yes to the question will result in you being rejected.
2. Professional Licensure
Did you know if you work in a profession that requires you to have professional licensure, your licenses could be denied, suspended, or revoked based on a criminal conviction that is directly related to your occupation. Even if your conviction is not directly related, the licensing agency may still penalize you if the conviction is less than five years old.
Most licensing agencies require that you report a conviction within a specified period of time. Failure to do so could result in your licenses being immediately suspended or cancelled.
3. Financial Aid
Did you know that certain criminal convictions could affect your ability to obtain many types of federal financial aid if you are in school? These include convictions on drug charges and certain sexual offenses.
Your financial aid may be suspended upon you being charged with a drug offense but may be completely cancelled if you are convicted of the charge. If you have already received aid during the year of your conviction, you may be required to return it.
You may be able to regain your eligibility for aid when you complete an approved drug rehabilitation program or successfully pass two unannounced drug tests administered by the program.
Did you know that some public and private landlords require a criminal background check on anyone who is applying to rent from them? Having a criminal record could jeopardize your ability to obtain housing. Unfortunately, this is legal because the landlords can argue you may be a risk to the health and safety of other residents.
What Can You Do?
Fortunately, in Texas, you have a few options for reducing the impact your criminal record has on your life.
Expungement or Expunction
You may qualify for an expunction of your arrest records, court records, and criminal history if you were not found guilty, the charges were dropped or dismissed, or you received deferred adjudication on a Class C misdemeanor and have completed your community supervision. Expunction will not only clear your record but will also allow you to honestly answer no to any criminal conviction questions.
Orders of Nondisclosure
If you do not qualify for an expunction, you may still be able to reduce the impact of your criminal record by applying for an order of nondisclosure. While this order does not expunge or clear your record, it seals it from the general public and potential employers. Be mindful that certain levels of government agencies will still be able to see it.
You will be able to obtain an order of nondisclosure immediately following a misdemeanor, but you will have to wait five years to seal a felony. Unfortunately, some serious felonies will never be able to be sealed or covered under an order of nondisclosure.
If you want know the best choices you have to reduce the impact your criminal record is having on your life, you need to contact Raymond Martinez Attorney at Law. We will always put you first and make your case our top priority. Let us help you create a better life.