New Year, New Opportunities: The Benefits of Expunging Your Criminal Record
When you are convicted of a criminal offense in Missouri, your immediate concern is likely whether you will spend time in jail, what the terms of your probation might be, and how you will cover any required fees and restitution payments. Many people do not realize that a criminal conviction can impact their lives long after they complete their court-ordered sentences.
A criminal conviction will go on your permanent record, which is accessible to law enforcement authorities, prospective or current employers, prospective or current landlords, and many other parties who might conduct a background search. Finding a conviction on your record can adversely impact your opportunities and can create obstacles well into the future. This is true whether you were convicted of a misdemeanor or felony offense.
The law in Missouri does make certain offenders eligible for the expungement of their criminal records. As the New Year approaches, you should consider making a resolution for 2020 to inquire about clearing your record and enjoying the many possible benefits of expungement.
A criminal record can wreak havoc on your career path. In many situations, you may lose your job over a conviction – whether it is because your employer terminates you after learning of your record, or due to having to miss work to serve a jail sentence. When you go to apply for a new job, you might find that your conviction stands in your way much of the time.
An expungement can help with the following and more:
- Allow you to answer truthfully on job applications that you have no criminal convictions
- Prevent companies from learning of your conviction in a background check
- Give you a better chance of qualifying for advanced professional or educational programs
- Allow you to work in professions barred by your past conviction – for example, if you want to work in finance and have a theft or fraud conviction
These are only some of the many ways that expungement can help your career path.
Aside from your professional life, expungement of your record could assist with some or all of the following:
- Getting approved to rent housing
- Eligibility for public benefits and assistance
- Eligibility for federal grants and student financial aid
- Obtaining greater custody rights of your children
The consequences of a criminal conviction can last a lifetime, as can the benefits of the expungement of your criminal record.
Expungement is not a cure-all for the effects of a criminal conviction. Some agencies will still be able to access your conviction records, including law enforcement agencies. This means that prosecutors will still be able to use a prior conviction to enhance the sentence for a future conviction when applicable under the law. However, it is still worth it to explore the possibility of expunging your record with a criminal defense attorney in St. Louis.
Consult with an Experienced St. Louis Criminal Defense Lawyer about Your Options
The criminal defense attorneys at Bruntrager & Billings, P.C., help defend against pending charges as well as obtain expungements for eligible clients. Contact us online or call 314-646-0066 if you are ready to clear your record in 2020.