How A Criminal Record Can Hold You Back In Unexpected Ways

Nobody sets out with the intention of getting a criminal record. But sometimes it just happens. We often assume a criminal record to mean something severe and crazy — like robbing a bank. But you can acquire a criminal record through something that seems mundane, like getting a DUI. Unfortunately, getting a criminal record for even a minor crime can set you back in ways that you don’t anticipate.

Some people will readily accept a ‘guilty’ plea, rather than fight the charges just to avoid a prolonged legal battle. Even if they’re innocent of what they’ve been accused of. This is especially true with young people, who may not understand the gravity of having a criminal record.

Especially for employment, some crimes sound more serious than they actually were. For instance, urinating in a public park can lead to charges that require the defendant to register as a sex offender. A simple bar brawl can lead to an aggravated assault charge.

If you’re unsure how your prior criminal record looks on paper, you can actually view your criminal record by visiting Instant Checkmate and typing in your first and last name. Instant Checkmate searches through public records, and quickly compiles a background dossier on you. This information can include criminal records, court records, traffic records, and other information like basic information, location history, social media profiles, possible relatives, assets, and more.

If you’re accused of a crime, it’s important to know exactly how a criminal record can affect your future. Even if you already have a criminal record from a mistake you made in your past, understanding the full impact of a criminal record can help you navigate your future with more success.

Did you know that a criminal record can impact all of the following?

Page Contents

1. Housing

Did you know that a criminal record can impact your chances of successfully finding a rental property to live at? When you fill in a rental application, you usually have to agree to allow the landlord to perform a background check on you.

A background check involves calling a few references (usually your previous landlords) and checking your criminal record. Even a very old criminal record can appear in a background check. This is why it’s a smart idea to explain the nature of your criminal record to a landlord upfront. This can help you mitigate any potential misunderstandings related to your past.

2. Join The Police Force

Did you have dreams of joining the boys (or ladies) in blue? If you’ve been busted for a crime, you’ll have to come up with a new career path. Even a minor crime means that you cannot join law enforcement, so you’ll have to get your record expunged before you even attempt to apply.

3. Working With Children

If you love working with children, you’ll need a squeaky clean background record. Daycare facilities and preschool programs run strict background checks on all their employees — even small roles, like janitorial staff and cleaners, are often required to submit to background checks. Even if you want to run a small daycare out of your own home, it’s likely that your application to get a license will be denied if you have even a small misdemeanor in your background report.

4. Teaching

This is a no-brainer, but if you can’t work in a daycare facility because of your criminal history, you won’t be able to work in a school either. Although you can still study to become a teacher, almost all schools run serious background checks on potential applicants, so if you’ve ever been arrested, getting hired by a school will be extremely difficult.

5. Health Care

Do you aspire to work in health care or attend medical school? This is bad news if you have a record. In fact, the following jobs are completely off-limits to anyone who has a felony conviction:

  • Doctor (MD)
  • Physician assistant
  • Psychiatrist
  • Psychologist
  • Nurse (RN/LPN)
  • Radiologist
  • EMT/Paramedic
  • Surgical Tech
  • Phlebotomist
  • Chiropractor

While some jobs, like a medical assistant, nurse aid (CNA), home health care aid, or medical administrative assistant are technically open to those with criminal records, the extensive background checking requirements of employers make it extremely unlikely for anyone with a criminal record to find employment in these areas.

If you’re applying to medical school, your application is likely to be denied because admissions officers understand how difficult it will be to find a job after graduation with a criminal record.

6. Casino Work

Surely a rambunctious casino will understand if you’ve had a few slip ups in your past? Despite the freewheeling and fun loving outer appearances of a casino, it’s a serious business behind closed doors — and employees are subjected to intense background checks.

This is because you inevitably end up working with a lot of money, and casino bosses will be reluctant to trust someone with a criminal record. If you have a less serious record, like a DUI, this will probably impact you a lot less than something financially related — like fraud. Anything gambling-related will probably have the same restrictions, so avoid applying for jobs at the racing tracks or on-board cruise ships with casinos.

7. Open Your Own Business

In order to open some businesses, you’ll be required to be “bonded” — otherwise, you’ll run into issues with insurance. A surety bond is required by the government for certain businesses to operate. Some examples of businesses that require you to be bonded include contractors, accountants, repairmen, and maids.

8. Buy A Firearm

Depending on your criminal record, you may discover that you’re unable to pass a background check in order to purchase a firearm. In order to obtain a firearms license, you’ll have to agree to a complete background check — which includes your criminal and arrest history. Some criminal records even have firearms bans on them, and this is common if you’ve been charged with a felony. For instance, in California, Penal Code 29800 PC is a “felon with a firearm” law. It imposes a lifetime firearms ban on anyone who has been convicted of a felony offense in any state or country.

Despite the long list of things you cannot do with a criminal record, there is still plenty of opportunity and second chances for those who have a blemished past. Sometimes these difficult experiences can make you more resourceful and work harder than your peers. If you’re looking for a job with a criminal record, it’s a good idea to be honest with your potential employer and explain the situation to them. In most cases, they will be grateful for your honesty and hopefully, your past experiences will no longer hinder your opportunity in the future.