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How Does Having a Criminal Record Affect Your Life?

criminal record

If you’re facing criminal charges, the first thing that comes to mind may be the fines or jail time you may face. While these consequences are immediate, other consequences can affect your life long after your fines are paid and your jail time is served.

Even if you’re found not guilty or your charge is dropped, that doesn’t mean the charge will be removed from your record. While the charge may fall off your record after a predetermined number of years, you also may have the option to have the charge expunged from your record.

While you’re fighting the charge to protect your freedom, It’s vital to remember how a criminal record can affect your life in the future. We’re going to review some of the ways that a criminal record can affect your life.


Even if you’re acquitted, having a criminal record can make it hard to find a good job. Prospective employers have the right to do a background check to determine if you have a criminal record. If the search yields results, they may decide not to hire you.

Most employers will also ask if you have any criminal convictions, including all misdemeanors and felonies. You are required to answer this question truthfully, but you don’t have to disclose misdemeanors that were removed from your record or arrests that didn’t result in a conviction.

The same is true for your current employer. You can be fired if you have missed work to go to court because you were arrested, or even if you have been simply questioned about a crime but not charged.

Child Custody

If your conviction involved domestic violence or any other type of violence, your criminal record affects your child custody. And even if the charge is a misdemeanor, you could lose your custody rights if the crime involves your family.

Adoption or Fostering Children

Some criminal charges can also affect the adoption or fostering of a child. Part of the application process is a criminal background check for all adults living in the home. Each state has its own laws and regulations, be sure to check the policies in your specific state.

Driving Privileges

You could lose your driver’s license if you have a criminal record. To get your license back, you could be required to take a course in drug education.

Owning Firearms

A criminal conviction can result in losing your right to own a firearm. This is especially true if your conviction is a felony or a Class A misdemeanor.

Immigration Status

Foreign nationals will also find that a criminal charge will keep them from getting a green card, changing their immigration status, or becoming a citizen of the United States. You can also be deported, or lose your job, even if your charge is a misdemeanor.

Admission to College

Depending on the school’s policy, even a misdemeanor can keep you from being admitted to college or graduate school. And if your conviction is for a drug-related or sexual offense, you may find it impossible to secure financial aid.

Professional Licenses

Many professional organizations will not allow someone with criminal charges on their record to gain a professional license with their organization. This is true even if your conviction is for a misdemeanor.

Renting a Home

Landlords can refuse to rent to you if you have criminal charges on your record within a certain number of years. And if your offense was a sex offense, it doesn’t matter how much time has passed. The landlord can refuse to rent to you.

Mental and Emotional Consequences

Along with the consequences listed above, you may also experience mental and emotional repercussions after your criminal charge. Some of which may include:

  • Hyper-Vigilance — People who have spent time in jail can sometimes pick up on behaviors that can cause them to socially isolate themselves, even after they are out of jail.
  • Shame or guilt — Although feelings of guilt can lower the chance of committing future crimes, if you feel shame and get defensive, you can end up blaming those around you for your problems.
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) — Prisoners can experience PTSD, which includes symptoms such as nightmares, flashbacks, trouble sleeping, anxiety, and overwhelming feelings of guilt. PTSD can affect your productivity at work and home.

Don’t Let a Criminal Charge Ruin Your Life — Let Jeremy Widder Law Help

As you can see, there are many ways that a criminal charge can negatively affect your life. That’s why it’s essential to enlist the services of an experienced criminal defense attorney to fight your charge.

At Jeremy Widder Law, we know that getting charged with a crime can be a scary time. You need someone who will listen to you and walk with you from start to finish to ensure your case gets the attention it deserves.
Contact us today, and let’s take the first steps together toward the outcome you are looking for.


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