Starting Fresh in 2015: How Long Do Criminal Offenses Follow You?
Contact a Columbus criminal defense attorney if you’re charged with a crime
“Have you ever been convicted of a felony? Answer: Yes/No”
For people with a prior criminal offense on their record, this question on job applications can be the bane of their existence. The seemingly permanent black mark on one’s record can be even worse than the initial penalty of fines or jail time.
However, not everyone who has committed a crime necessarily has to live with it forever. There are some courses of action that can affect how long a criminal conviction will impact one’s life, including:
Getting your record sealed or expunged
If you’ve committed a crime in the past, and you’d like to start with a clean slate, the best option is to apply to have your record sealed or expunged. This process allows someone with a prior criminal offense to have their charges, arrest, detention and conviction erased from the public record.
If your record is successfully expunged, and you are asked at a job interview whether or not you’ve ever been convicted of a crime, you can legally respond with, “No.”
However, expungement of one’s criminal record isn’t a given. There are several factors the courts will consider before agreeing to expunge your record, such as:
- The type of crime (misdemeanor vs. felony)
- The amount of time between the criminal charge and the expungement request
- Whether or not you are a repeat offender
- Whether or not you have any outstanding criminal charges
- Completion of probation or rehabilitation from said crime
Essentially, if you want your record sealed or expunged, the court has to be convinced that you are fully rehabilitated.
Severity of your crime
Depending on the nature of your criminal offense, you may not quality to have your record expunged. For instance, if you’ve been convicted of crime that represents you as a potential danger to those around you, such as murder or rape, the court will most likely decline your expungement. Even Mark Wahlberg is facing difficulty in trying to expunge his record from a pair of assault charges he committed in 1988.
Length of time
While time itself won’t erase any criminal charges on your record, if you stay out of trouble with the law for a lengthy period, some employers will overlook felony charges you may have committed years ago. This is on an employer-by-employer basis, though, and is by no means guaranteed.
If you’re charged with a criminal offense, call a Columbus criminal defense attorney from Yavitch & Palmer.
The ugly truth is that criminal records never fully disappear. Even if you get your record sealed or expunged, you’re criminal past can still be seen by certain government officials and employers, which can prevent you from truly “starting fresh.” Unfortunately, employers are by no means required to give someone a second chance. For many people, criminal records are with them for the rest of their lives.
That’s why, if you’re being charged with a crime, you can’t take the chance of simply pleading guilty or attempting to defend yourself. You need the experienced, professional criminal defense attorneys at Yavitch & Palmer to look over every aspect of your case and work to get your charges reduced or completely dismissed.