If you live in the United States, you understand how easy it is to be charged with a crime. Research reveals that at least 70 million people in the US have some form of a criminal record. A crime can range from the smallest of misdemeanors to a felony. Each of these crimes comes with repercussions that will follow you for the rest of your life.
Here is a list of ways a criminal record can affect your everyday life in the United States.
1. Federal limitations
In the United States, every citizen is entitled to certain rights under the Constitution. However, a criminal charge prevents you from enjoying these rights. It is worth noting that every state has its own set of conditions when you are charged with a crime that goes on your record. Unfortunately, most citizens take their federal rights for granted until they are stripped away. Here is a general list of federal limitations you could expect after a criminal charge.
- The right to bear arms
- Service in a public office
- The right to vote
- Service as a juror in a court of law
For instance, if you were charged with a crime involving allowing a minor to handle a firearm, you might lose your right to bear arms.
Potential employers have the right to conduct a background check on you to determine whether you have a history of crime. If they find ascertain you have a criminal record, there is a high chance they will not employ you. Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do once they turn you away. They are only looking out for themselves since they worry a history of crime might hamper their ability to do their job well. Employers also believe there is a high chance you will commit more crimes in the future.
Employers are not the only ones who comb through your applications to join their establishments. Admins from colleges and universities also have the right to conduct background checks to verify the integrity of their applicants. Recent research reveals that 55% of public schools require prospective students to disclose whether they have a history of crime. If they find a criminal record in your past, they might deny you entry to pursue higher learning. These institutions allege that turning ex-convicts away mitigates acts of crime.
4. Child custody
Divorce and separation can be messy, especially if you have young children together. A criminal charge can make your life harder during divorce and cause you to lose the child custody battle. However, the outcome of the custody battle will depend on the state you are in, the extent of your crimes, how long ago the crimes occurred, and whether your record could prevent you from taking care of your child. Keep in mind some aspects of your criminal record could also prevent you from raising your child in a loving and stable environment. For instance, you could lose custody because you can’t find employment and are struggling financially.
5. Renting or leasing
The state has plenty of laws to protect you if you are hunting for a house to rent or lease. However, these laws don’t apply if you have a criminal record. You could sue a landlord for rejecting your application because of gender, race, religion, or sexuality. However, they have the right to refuse you if they find out you have a history of crime. Fortunately, you can turn to a top criminal defense attorney or look up non-profit and government-funded organizations for help finding temporary housing.
6. Driving Privileges
Criminal charges involving DUIs and DWI might result in the revocation of your driving privileges. The law will assume you are a threat to yourself, your passengers, and other drivers on the road and bar you from getting behind the wheel for a long time. This might be a challenge because you will have to make arrangements with someone to drive you to work or run errands. If you have nobody to move you around, you will incur hefty costs of using rideshare apps or cabs.
A criminal record could complicate the process of becoming a legal citizen of the United States. Fortunately, not every crime you commit will warrant immediate cancellation of your application. However, suppose you are convicted of violent crimes like rape, crimes involving at least 30mg of uncontrolled substances, and any severe convictions against religious freedom. In that case, your application is in danger of being canceled. To add insult to injury, there is a high chance you might get deported.
8. Certification and professional licenses
Imagine your scenario where the doctor at your clinic has a history of crime. You wouldn’t be too comfortable letting them administer treatment to you. Similarly, the law will bar you from obtaining licenses or certification after a criminal charge. If you were charged with a crime long after you got your professional license, you won’t be in a position to continue practicing and might need to find a new job. Here is a list of professions and industries that bar ex-convicts or people with a criminal record from working.
- Real estate
- Athletics and sports
- Social work
- Massage therapists
9. Emotional effects
You might be lucky to avoid jail time after a criminal charge. Perhaps you got a good lawyer who helped you exonerate yourself. However, even though you were found innocent, there is no way to remove a criminal charge once it is on your record. The criminal justice system can be brutal, leaving you with deep emotional scars that may last a lifetime. You might experience devastating health issues like high blood pressure, trauma-induced stress, and stroke.
Unfortunately, a criminal record isn’t something you can scrub off your back and leave squeaky clean. If you have been charged with a crime, the only option would be to face the music and do your best to live a happy life. However, it would be wise to avoid being on the right side of the law. If you find yourself in a sticky situation, yet you are sure of your innocence, you can reach out to a seasoned criminal defense lawyer to help exonerate you.
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