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Criminal charges have serious, long-lasting impact

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Many people know about the penalties that come with criminal charges, such as jail time or fines. Those convicted of a crime are not off the hook after these penalties though. Having a criminal record can affect a person for the rest of their life, seemingly continuing the punishment for years and years to come.

How does a criminal record affect someone's future? And is there anything that can be done to start moving forward again?

Lasting effects of criminal charges

A criminal record can impact a person's life in many ways, but there are three major effects that could greatly hinder a person's standard of living:

1. Difficulty with employment

Most employers ask about criminal history when hiring. It can be much more difficult for those with past convictions to land a job than others. This, in turn, causes tremendous worry, stress, and a struggle to get life started again, especially for those trying to provide for a family. In fact, depending on the nature of the crime, the person may be banned from working in certain positions or fields altogether.

2. Difficulty with housing

Landlords are also allowed to ask about criminal records. It can be challenging to find a landlord willing to rent out a living space to someone with a criminal history.

3. Revocation of rights

Rights are generally only taken away for felonies. Those with a felony on their record may be banned from voting or carrying a firearm, to name the most common rights that are revoked. Sometimes these rights are only revoked for a set amount of time while in other cases, someone could be banned from voting forever.

Other consequences

In addition to these major consequences, it may also be impossible to travel to certain countries. Those with a criminal record can usually obtain passports, but some countries will not allow them entry. For those looking to apply to school, a criminal record can make admission to academic programs a struggle and it may be nearly impossible to obtain scholarships.

Is there a way to clear a criminal record?

Many people inquire about expungement when trying to rebuild after a criminal charge. In Pennsylvania, expungement will not help most people because it is generally only granted to those who are 70 years old if they have had no criminal charges for 10 years. It is possible, however, to receive a governor's pardon.

A governor's pardon voids a criminal record, but it may be difficult to have the pardon approved without legal help. In addition to filing for a pardon, there is a variety of information that must be presented, deadlines that must be met, and there is a hearing if the initial request goes through.

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