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What Are Criminal Records and How Do They Affect Your Record?

What Are Criminal Records and How Do They Affect Your Record?

A criminal record is a list of an individual's previous arrests, convictions, or run-ins with law enforcement. This document provides information about arrests, sentences, parole violations, convictions, and dismissals recorded against an individual.

Michelle S. April 29, 2022

What Are Criminal Records and How Do They Affect Your Record?

A criminal record is a list of an individual's previous arrests, convictions, or run-ins with law enforcement. This document provides information about arrests, sentences, parole violations, convictions, and dismissals recorded against an individual.

It's an often repeated refrain: a criminal record precludes anyone from contesting an election to become the president, but criminal records can have several negative impacts on people's lives in other, more immediate ways. Perhaps the most pertinent consequence of having a criminal record is having to deal with an up to 53% decrease in wages for the remainder of one's professional career.

From getting and keeping a job, to seeking higher education and receiving financial aid, criminal records can throw a lot of spanners in several works.

Getting A Job With A Criminal Record

People with criminal records have a hard time finding a decent job. And quite often, it's people who have spent time in prison who have the hardest time of it.

These days, a large percentage of employers and HR professionals conduct background checks on screened applicants, and for most of them, a criminal history is automatic grounds for disqualification. Applicants with criminal records have, on average, only a 50% chance of getting a call back or a job offer.

Criminal records also impact an individual's earning capacity over a lifetime. People who've spent time in the system may have to contend with a 52% reduction in annual earnings. Convicted felons who didn't spend time in prison may lose about 22% of their annual earning capacity, while people convicted of a misdemeanor may have to deal with an average 16% loss of earning capacity.

In addition to all of these, there may be legal or regulatory restrictions on people with criminal records barring (or simply restricting) them from employment or business opportunities.

Getting An Education With A Criminal Record

A criminal record may also prevent ex-offenders from obtaining higher education, blocking off an important path towards increasing their earning power.

The vast majority of institutions in the USA require applicants to declare their criminal history. For many of these institutions, an applicant with a criminal background will have their application summarily turned down.

Ex-offenders' chances of receiving federal student aid can also be harmed by a criminal record, making higher education more expensive and less possible for them.

Getting A Loan With A Criminal Record

A criminal record will likely have no impact on your credit score, since criminal convictions are not included on credit reports. Having said that, a criminal record can find other, indirect ways to affect you.

For starters, banks may close the account of offenders once they become aware of the holder's conviction. They can do this without providing reasons, and the closure of an account typically affects credit ratings negatively. In the same vein, banks may close an account if it becomes inactive for prolonged periods, probably as a result of the holder's incarceration.

Lenders may be more reluctant to give ex-offenders access to loans as well. They may learn this fact about you if you've listed a prison address among the places you've lived at.

Getting Child Custody With A Criminal Record

Criminal records, particularly records of violence or domestic abuse, will greatly reduce an ex-offender's child custody rights. Judges are understandably wary when it comes to entrusting the care of children to people with a history of violence, and even a misdemeanor charge may render a people unfit for child custody.

Renting An Apartment With A Criminal Record

Landlords in Texas may refuse to rent or lease their properties to people with criminal records, if the offence occurred within a certain number of years. If the offense is related to sex, then there's no statute of limitations; they can refuse no matter how long it's been.

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