Millions of Americans are facing challenges everyday because a criminal record from their past continues to haunt them. A prior arrest or conviction prevents former offenders from reintegrating into society, but an expungement or sealing can help these individuals have the life they desire and deserve.
With even a small blemish on your record, you can experience many hardships. Expunging your criminal record can help with the challenges that you might face when trying to move forward. After your criminal record is sealed or expunged, you can put those old mistakes behind you.
How an Expungement Can Help
An expungement can help you move forward in many different aspects of your life. A lot of people may not know the many ways that a criminal record can affect one’s life so negatively, but an arrest or criminal conviction can have a lasting impact on your life.
The following are eight reasons why, if you have a criminal conviction or an arrest on your record, you should consider petitioning the court to expunge or seal your criminal record:
- Employment – Most employers conduct background checks on new applicants. With a conviction on your record, you may be unable to find a new job or may not be promoted from your current position because of your criminal record. Sealing or expunging your record will allow you to be evaluated based on your qualifications for the position and not a mistake from your past.
- Educational Opportunities – With a criminal record, you could be unable to attend the college or university of your choice, and you can also be disqualified from certain graduate programs. Additionally, students that are convicted of drug-related offenses are ineligible for federal student aid for specified period of time, which depends on the number of prior offenses.
- Firearms Rights – A criminal conviction can result in the loss of your gun rights. An expungement of the conviction that resulted in the prohibition could restore those rights. Laws on this vary by state; a separate firearm rights restoration petition, in addition to the petition to expunge, is required in some states.
- Housing – Most landlords conduct background checks on potential tenants as a part of the application process. They can legally deny you housing if you have a criminal conviction. Having the conviction expunged or sealed will allow you to find better housing.
- Loans and Financial Aid – A criminal record could make you ineligible for a loan or it could result in higher interest rates if you do receive a loan. Also as discussed above, drug offenses can remove the opportunity for a student to receive federal financial aid.
- Professional Licenses and Certifications – Some professions require certification in order to receive a license to perform the job duties involved in the profession. These certifications often require a criminal background check. Having a criminal record can prevent you from being certified or licensed, but having your record expunged or sealed could help you obtain the license or certification you seek.
- Adoption or Foster Parenting– A background check will be conducted before you can become a foster parent or adopt a child, and several states ban applicants that have criminal records. Expunging or sealing your criminal record will help you be able to adopt a child or become a foster parent.
- Volunteering – While volunteer work is a great way to give back to your community and show that you are rehabilitated, most volunteer positions that involve participation with youth or other vulnerable populations requires a background check to verify that you have a clean criminal record. Expungement or criminal record sealing will help you be able to help those in your community.