Will Having a Criminal Record Hurt My Life in General?

You may think that when you complete your sentence for a criminal conviction that you can put the mistake behind you and move on with your life.  However, when you are convicted of a crime, that conviction is added to a permanent record that may become available to future employers, colleges, landlords, and others. When you are completing an application that asks if you have been convicted of a crime, you must answer honestly. Some applications only ask if you have been convicted of a felony; however, you may encounter situations where you must disclose misdemeanor convictions.

A criminal record can have a serious impact on your future. Unless your conviction has been sealed, overturned, or expunged, a criminal conviction can follow you for the rest of your life.

The Negative Consequences of a Criminal Record

In addition to the potential for fines, jail time, probation, and other punishments, being convicted of a crime creates a criminal record. Your criminal record can have negative consequences for your future including:

  • Limiting where you can live (e. convictions for sexual offenses);
  • Right to possess a firearm or carry a concealed weapon is prohibited for felony convictions;
  • Ability to obtain a liquor license for a business;
  • Stiffer penalties for subsequent convictions;
  • Enlist in the military;
  • Obtaining loans from some financial institutions;
  • Enrolling in college and obtaining financial aid for college;
  • Obtaining various business licenses;
  • Being hired for certain jobs; and,
  • Rent or lease a house, apartment, or condominium.

Depending on the crime or crimes on your record, you could also face other negative consequences. Working with an experienced Michigan criminal defense attorney is the best step you can take to mitigate the damage a criminal charge can do to your future.

What is Included in My Criminal Record?

In Michigan, the Criminal Justice Information Center maintains criminal records. Information that is included in your criminal record includes:

  • Misdemeanor convictions
  • Felony arrests and convictions
  • Your name and any aliases you have used in the past
  • Age and general physical description, including any tattoos
  • Residence
  • Fingerprints
  • Mug shots

Your record is considered public information. Various agencies, businesses, schools, and individuals might have access to your criminal record.

Can I Get Rid of My Criminal Record?

In some cases, you might be able to have a criminal conviction set aside or expunged. While the conviction may be available to certain agencies, it will no longer be available to the public. If your conviction is expunged, you do not need to disclose the criminal conviction when applying for a loan, rental home, job, public benefits, or school. An expungement means you can legally state you have not been convicted of that crime.

Not all convictions can be set aside. Examples of criminal convictions that cannot be set aside include sex crimes, some assault charges, child abuse, some domestic violence charges, and felonies punishable by life in prison. You cannot apply for an expungement until at least five years after your conviction date, your probation completion date, your discharge date from parole, or the date you were released from prison, whichever date occurs last.

Because you must file the appropriate application with the court, send copies to several interested parties, attend a hearing, and convince a judge that you deserve to have your conviction set aside, it is helpful to consult a criminal defense lawyer for assistance. You do not want to pay the fees and spend the time trying to obtain an expungement to have your application denied because of a technicality or because you did not present the required arguments to the court to convince the judge you deserve to have your request granted.

What Should I Do If I Am Arrested?

Call our office immediately for a free consultation with a Michigan criminal defense lawyer. Even a misdemeanor conviction can have negative consequences for your future. Our lawyers investigate charges against you to determine your legal options for fighting the charges.

Ignoring a criminal charge or leaving your defense up to a public defender puts your future opportunities at risk. Talk to our defense attorneys about ways you can avoid a criminal record. If you are charged with a crime, exercise your right to remain silent except for asking for your attorney.

Do You Have Questions About Your Michigan Criminal Record?

Contact The Clark Law Office to speak with an attorney about your criminal record. You can reach our office by calling 517-347-6900.