A temporary indiscretion has the potential to affect your life in ways that you may not appreciate. What may seem like a temporary lapse in judgement may result in a blemish on your criminal record for the near future. Whether you were caught up in an emotional situation beyond your control, acting out of desperation, or the victim of circumstances, it is important that you seek the counsel of a criminal lawyer.
How Can a Criminal Record Affect my Life?
There are two major areas of your life that a criminal record can affect. Beyond the social implications of having a criminal record, a criminal record can affect your educational pursuits, as well as your eligibility for certain types of employment.
Education: The process of applying for higher education usually involves filling out an application to be submitted for review. Most applications will contain a section requesting that you disclose your criminal record. In some cases this is just a formality, and a criminal record may not have any adverse effect on your prospects. However, in some cases a criminal record may raise red flags that preclude you from pursuing the career of your choice.
Law schools, medical schools, certain MBA programs, and other advanced degree programs often consider whether their applicants possess any traits that suggest that the applicant might pose a risk to future clients, patients, etc. Crimes involving dishonesty, violence, fraudulent behavior, and the like may cause your school's admissions board to think twice about your application.
Employment: Virtually every potential employer conducts a background check on potential employees. These background checks provide potential employers with access to a lot of your information: Past and present addresses, aliases, your credit score, and a host of other bits of data, including your criminal record.
Again, how a criminal record will affect an applicant's prospects depends in part on the job itself. Some jobs will only consider it as a part of the bigger picture, where other employers will consider a criminal record to be an absolute and total bar to consideration. In other situations, a criminal record may just result in you being pushed to the back of the line of potential applicants.
In positions that require applicants to receive and maintain a license to practice, a criminal record can serve as a justification for denying applications for licensure. Again, careers in fields like law, medicine, or certified public accounting require extra steps. Something as simple as a misdemeanor can bar an applicant from receiving the license he or she needs to ply his or her trade.
What Should I Do?
If you are applying for a job or to a degree program and are worried about the impact your criminal record may have on your prospects, you may want to reach out to a Spokane criminal attorney. Under RCW 9.96.060 and RCW 13.50.050, the records of certain juvenile and adult offenses may be expunged if the offender meets certain requirements. Having the record of an offense expunged may offer some relief during the process of applying to school or for employment.
If you have questions about the process of expunging your records, or about any other issue related to your legal defense, consider reaching out to the West Law Office. Russell West a Spokane criminal lawyer has years of experience defending his clients in cases ranging from auto accidents, to misdemeanors, to DUIs. If you need help, reach out to the West Law Office today for a free consultation.