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How Does Having a Criminal Record Affect Your Life

by William Gist

Life never goes as planned. There will always be ups and downs, and sometimes it goes down the road we wouldn’t ever expect. You can make mistakes you thought you would never make and they can change your path forever. Taking any acton after having a criminal record can be quiet different then it was before. Achieving dreams and living life to the fullest might be found challenging. Obstacles are at every corner but you will have to find a way to deal with it.

Housing

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Finding an apartment can be tricky even for people without a criminal history. During the last decade, rents are constantly increasing. There are not enough apartments for renting and the application process is way too complicated. People nowadays more likely to choose to rent a place than to buy there one, especially in big cities. Sadly, the fact is that landlords prefer tenants without any previous convictions.

The majority of them believe there is a high possibility that you will do some kind of illegal activity on their property. It is understandable why somebody doesn’t want to take that risk, and they will make sure that they did a proper background check on potential renters. Here we can see why the support of our families is important and precious in preventing homelessness, especially among the ones who are recently released from jail.

Employment

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Consequences of having a criminal record can prevent you from finding a job, or get you immediately fired from your current job. Background check-up became routine in the job application process. If the employer during that process finds out about your felonies, the most important thing is not to lie about it.

Lying can be also considered as a criminal act by itself. Job seekers are having a hard time finding an understandable employer, who is willing to give them a chance to prove themselves as responsible and hard-working. There will be a lot of prejudices and probably job application won’t be considered at all. Unfortunately important things like volunteering, college admission, professional licenses or memberships won’t be easily accessible to you anymore.

It’s useful to know that in some cases (lower types of crimes) criminal records can be cleared. This process is better known as Expungement and it means all documents will be completely destroyed. The other best option is to get Nondisclosure (your documents will be sealed and not will be available to the public). You can find more details or professional advice on the www.recordpurge.com.

Travelling

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Living a fulfilling life means that you are able to create experiences and memories and yes, sometimes having a criminal record can hold you back from doing so. If you want to go on an exciting adventure in another country or continent, you will find out most of them are not so much welcoming you.

Getting a visa could be difficult, if not impossible for some countries (depending on the type of conviction, because every case and every the country is different). There is always a possibility that you will be interrogated by the border police. Of course, you should never even think about lying about if asked.

Before consider travelling to the destination you dreamed of, firstly you must get all the necessary information from the embassies and consulates of the country that you are visiting. If you are a foreigner you have high chances of being deported, or even banned from entering the U.S. for years to come. In most serious cases authorities can conclude that your presence is treating the national security and in that case, you won’t be allowed cross-border till the rest of your life.

Child custody

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If you have a child and enter a divorce process, there is a high likelihood that the court will rule against you and grant custody to the other parent. Consequently, you might not be able to see your kid as often as you could. Still having a criminal record doesn’t mean that having custody of a child is impossible.

The judge will still take consideration if giving custody to you is in the child’s best interest. The focus will be on certain factors such as how long you have been convicted, what was the nature of the crime and did you repeated crime. Even if you are a stepmother or stepfather or you are just dating someone with a child this can affect court desition in a custody fight.

Adoption

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There are numerous reasons why people decide to adopt a child in the first place (infertility reasons, medical conditions, knowing personally child in need, adopting stepchild, etc).

But this is yet just another example where your past criminal convictions might stop you from doing what you want in life. Social security services make a strict selection in the adoption process. After the background check, there is a chance that the application will be denied.

Social and psychological consequences

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All the things listed above can lead to social distancing and eventually may compromise mental health. Social stigma is for sure a heavy burden. Constantly fighting all those problems can let you feeling hopeless, demotivated, scared, unsuccessful. You can start doubting your worth, regardless of previous extensive professional experience and skills. To make matters worse some may give up trying to get a better life and go back to illegal activities.

Everyday life is not the same – in some countries, you won’t be able to drive, vote, take loans and you won’t be eligible to perform jury duty too. In cases where people, in the end, proved their innocence in front of the court, it still sometimes happens that society is seeing them and treating them differently. If you are feeling bad or you think that there is a possibility that you are depressed, ask for help from medical professionals.

To sum up, it is never a good idea to commit a felony. It will affect you and all people around you. But if it already had happened, there are legal ways to get a fresh start in your life and get back to your feet.

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