In the United States, a criminal record includes both arrests and convictions, so a person does not have to be convicted to have a record. Unless the person successfully petitions for the arrest or conviction to be sealed or removed, it may then show up on a background check and affect many aspects of life, including:
Employment. Background checks are a standard part of many job applications. Although Minnesota law governs when employers can ask about criminal history, it does not prevent employers from rejecting applicants who have a record. Some employers conduct periodic background checks, or may do a check if an employee applies for a promotion or transfer. Additionally, some jobs have licensing requirements which can make a person with a criminal record ineligible.
Housing. Most rental properties in Minnesota will run a criminal background check before approving an application, which can make it substantially more difficult to find housing if you have a conviction on your record. Some mortgage lenders may run a criminal background check as part of their application process.
Voting. Voting laws vary from state to state. In Minnesota, a felony conviction will make you ineligible, but your right to vote is restored when your sentence is completely over and you are done with probation or conditional release (off paper).
Immigration. A criminal record can have severe immigration consequences, including making a person inadmissible to the United States, ineligible to adjust status or become a U.S. citizen, or eligible for removal (deportation). For U.S. citizens, a criminal conviction could impact your ability to travel internationally.
Federal Aid. In limited circumstances, a drug conviction or sex offense can make you ineligible for federal student aid. Eligibility is also limited during any period of incarceration.
Driving. Certain type of convictions can result in a suspension or loss of driving privileges, including DWI/DUI, fleeing police, criminal vehicular operation, no proof of insurance, and driving after suspension or revocation. Loss of license often comes before conviction.
Firearms. A felony conviction will make you ineligible to possess a firearm, but other cases can as well, including misdemeanor crimes of domestic violence.
There are many ways that a criminal record can follow you long after you have served your time. The most reliable way to prevent these consequences is to never be charged with a crime. If you are charged, you deserve an advocate who will help you get the best possible outcome. This is one reason effective, experienced representation is important from the start. If you already have a conviction which is interfering with your life, expungement (a court process for sealing criminal records) could drastically improve your situation. At F. Clayton Tyler, P.A., we understand that a criminal case can have far-reaching consequences. Contact us today so our experienced attorneys can put their skills to work in your defense.