If you’ve been charged or convicted of a crime, even a minor one, you may think that once your sentence is completed, that chapter in your life will be over. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Anyone who conducts a background check will find the record. A criminal charge can continue to affect your life in negative ways for years to come.
Reduces Ability to Get a Lease
When you rent an apartment or house, it’s very likely the landlord will ask you to fill out an application, and a background check may be included. A comprehensive background check will reveal any arrests, charges, or convictions.
State and local laws will differ on what grounds the property owners can deny a lease. Generally, an arrest or charge that does not result in a conviction cannot be used against you. The landlord must show why a conviction would make you a risky tenant.
Limits Employment Opportunities
Criminal charges can also affect your employment opportunities. Many applications ask you if you have ever been convicted of a crime. It is best to tell the truth; your record will turn up on background check. If you have served time, you may also have to explain gaps in your employment history.
Employers often avoid hiring convicted criminals to protect their businesses. They will hesitate to hire someone convicted of a financial crime or violent crime. They may also consider the time that has passed since the incidence and your efforts at restitution.
Hurts Your Credit
A credit check is routine when applying for a mortgage, business loan, or personal loan. A criminal record can lower your credit score. Further, depending on the nature of the conviction, the financial institution can use your conviction as the basis of denying the loan or charging you a higher interest rate.
When approving loans and interest rates, the lender is actually evaluating risk; that is, they are taking the risk that you will pay back the full amount in a timely manner. They will take into consideration the severity of the crime and whether it affects the likelihood of default.
Criminal charges can make rebuilding your life more difficult, but you can work to overcome the obstacles. The best policy is to be honest about what occurred and to be willing to give reassurance that the incident is truly in the past.
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