Most people know that a criminal record can prevent you from landing employment or getting housing. However, a conviction can hurt you in other ways that aren't as obvious at first. Even if you don't care about the effect your past can have on your employment or housing prospects, here are three additional reasons you should consider getting your record expunged.
AVOID LOSING CUSTODY OF CHILDREN
If you have children, a criminal record can prevent you from gaining custody of them and/or limit your visitation rights. The court's primary concern is what's in the best interest of the children involved. If you have a history of domestic violence or alcohol and drug addiction, the court may deny your request for custody and require supervised visitation if any is allowed.
Of course, the court will look at several factors before deciding whether your criminal record is relevant. For instance, the judge will consider when you were convicted, your punishment and whether you are a repeat offender. The worse your record looks, the higher the chances you won't be allowed custody of your children.
While the court may not go out of its way to delve into your criminal records, the other parent can bring the issue up at any time during the custody case. Therefore, the best way to ensure your past has no bearing on your future is to get your previous transgression expunged from your criminal record.
IMPROVE EDUCATIONAL PROSPECTS
Another reason you may want to expunge your criminal record is it can hurt your chances of being admitted into a college or university. According to available research, approximately 66 percent of secondary schools do criminal background checks as part of the applicant-screening process.
If the school finds something on your record it doesn't like, you may end up being denied entry. For instance, multiple assault and battery charges may lead the administration to think you're a violent person, and they'll reject your application out of fear you'll harm the other students.
Additionally, your criminal record can affect your ability to get approved for financial aid. People convicted of a sex offense and sentenced to jail cannot get Pell Grants. Some scholarships offered by schools, nonprofit organizations and private parties require students to have clean records, so you may be barred from applying for these alternative sources of funds.
By clearing your record, you can enjoy the privilege of applying to the school you want rather than settling for the school you can get into.
TRAVEL TO ANOTHER COUNTRY
A third reason you should work on expunging your record is you may be barred from traveling to another country if you have been convicted of certain crimes. Other countries prefer not to admit people who will only cause havoc within their borders, and they will typically screen visitors and disallow those convicted of crimes.
For example, Canada will turn away people who were convicted of alcohol-related offenses, such as a DUI. It won't matter if you are the driver or passenger of the vehicle you're currently in, whether the conviction was a misdemeanor or a felony or how long ago the conviction occurred. You won't be permitted in Canada with that offense on your record.
You can apply for special permission from the government, but this can get tiring after a while if you visit Canada often. Your best option is to expunge the previous convictions from your record so you can enjoy unrestricted travel.
Getting a criminal record expunged is no walk in the park, however. There are several requirements you must meet before you can clear your criminal record in California. Contact us for advice and assistance from our Redlands criminal defense attorney that could make the process a little easier.