If you are someone who is looking for a job, then having criminal charges can make it very difficult for you to secure employment successfully. You might say that your criminal life was a thing of the past; that you have officially completed your sentence, did your jail time and paid your debts, but still it might be a tad problematic for you to convince to your prospective employer that you will be good at your service. Hence it is important for you to know how your potential employer might find out about your criminal past, how can such records prevent you from securing jobs and in what ways you can increase your chances of getting employment.
A good way to make sure that your prospective employers do not know about your criminal past is to apply for sealing of record. This is a highly complicated and detailed process; one that will allow all of your past records to be sealed or expunged. Once it is done so, they will be regarded as practically non-existent for general uses. Here are some of the things that you need to know about criminal records and the whole process of sealing them.
The accessibility of criminal records in general
In some states of USA, the criminal records are not accessible to the public which means that access to information of this kind is restricted for the general population except in certain special circumstances. However, the convictions are held as public records. With the advent of the internet, it is now possible for an employer to find out about the possible criminal allegations of employees and applicants simply by browsing the online resources. A data search can reveal an arrest record but it cannot disclose the outcome; i.e. whether the person was released without charge, sent to some diversion program, convicted or acquitted. The arrests that don’t end up as formal charges are handled differently than convictions and the arrests pending trial.
A conviction is basically a plea, a verdict, or a judgment of guilt irrespective of the fact that whether the individual charged is sentenced or not. They may also include “no contest” pleas or nolo contendere. Most employers tend to look into the employee’s or applicant's convictions. The conviction records are the most easily and legally accessible information available to employers who are researching an employee’s or applicant's criminal history. They can be easily found in the data base searches. Some laws may restrict the level of reliance an employer may have on convictions for finalizing employment decisions. For example, in California, only convictions within 7 years before the actual employment application can be taken into consideration.
The arrest records are mainly records of arrests and detentions that do not lead to a conviction or a guilty plea. The employer questions regarding arrests are seen as discriminatory under the federal guidelines and so they can be barred in several states.
Arrests pending trial
An employer can enquire if the applicant or the employee has been previously arrested pending trial, and use information about such an arrest pending trial while making employment decisions. This is something that is practiced in many states. The reason for this is that an arrest may still lead to a conviction.
With appropriate court order, a criminal conviction can be completely expunged from an individual person’s record. Once a conviction is expunged, it is treated as if it had never existed. As a result, majority of the states prohibit the employers from denying a person employment or firing him/her based on any expunged convictions.
Expungement of criminal records cannot simply happen on their own; the convicted person in question needs to apply for such to an appropriate court. Legally, an employer cannot deny someone employment based on expunged records. However, if you think that your prospective employer is deny you the job because of your criminal past, you may have a hard time actually proving it. It is therefore always advisable that you ask for documentations regarding any kind of background checks, consumer credit reports or investigative reports that your prospective employer may have on you. You should also keep a close watch to notice if your employer is prohibiting any information about you.
If you want to know more about how your pending criminal charges may affect your employment opportunities or need help with the sealing or expunging of your records, then you should get in touch with a professional criminal lawyer in Colorado who has adequate experience in such matters. A lawyer with several years of experience in expungement can guide you in every step of the way to make sure that your records are sealed completely and that your chances of getting a job is increased in the process.