For those living in the state of Rhode Island – and indeed, the entire United States – there are many benefits to record expungement. A record expungement is about more than just being able to pass a background check; while gainful employment is a definite advantage, it is far from the only one. Today, we are going to look into the reasons why you would get criminal records removed from a practical standpoint.
Record Expungement in Rhode Island
The obvious benefit of record expungement is the fact that most employers check criminal records as part of the hiring process. If they come across any issues, they will likely bypass you as a candidate. More often than not, you do not receive the opportunity to explain the situation. You are certainly rarely given the benefit of the doubt.
In most states, including Rhode Island, an employer has the right to deny employment for prior convictions. Even if you were never convicted, you can still legally get denied. It does matter how long ago the record was created nor the circumstances. As you can imagine, this can make it especially difficult for someone with a criminal record.
What’s more, in most states an employer has the right to fire you if they discover you have a prior; if you have a conviction, getting an expungement could well save your job! You may think this is nothing to worry about; after all, why would an employer check your records after hiring you? There are many scenarios where this could come to fruition. For instance, if you have a workplace incident that brings your credibility into question. Or perhaps your employer thinks you are behaving suspiciously and decides to investigate. Criminal records are routinely accessible via the Internet and easily discoverable through a simple search.
Criminal Records and Finding an Apartment
Another way that having a criminal record can impede your life is when you are seeking a residence. Landlords and apartment complex managers often check backgrounds for people looking to lease or rent. If they find a conviction or arrest in your past, they may opt to pass on you as a tenant. It does not matter if how simple or complicated your case was; landlords just don’t want to take the chance of a repeat offender.
Even if you do not get denied a lease or rental agreement, you can still get punished; the leasing manager may decide to charge you higher rent or a bigger deposit to offset their “risk.”
In addition, you may fall into the category of those seeking federal assistance for housing. Be aware that certain public housing programs deny eligibility for a prior arrest, even if it never led to a conviction.
Criminal Records and the Right to Bear Arms
Another benefit to getting a record expungement has to do with protection. If you have a checkered past, odds are you may no longer legally own a weapon. When you receive a record expungement, your conviction disappears. This means that your gun rights may get restored and you can once again own a gun.
Be forewarned, however, that this could differ in certain cases. Consult a Rhode Island record expungement attorney for more information.
Government Assistance Programs and Record Expungement
For those seeking federally funded public assistance programs, a prior conviction may limit you. This includes food stamps as well as other programs, such as housing initiatives. If you get your record expunged, it will be as if you were never arrested or convicted, making you eligible once more.
The same is true for many educational programs as well. If you drug conviction, the government may deny you for work assistance. This applies to grants and loans as well. Additionally, professional certification courses often request a criminal history check before issuing certificates.
All of this means that without a record expungement in Rhode Island, your chances to further your education – and career – will be difficult. Doubly so for those that require financial assistance.
Other Ways A Record Expungement Can Help
There are so many ways that a criminal record impedes your life that it would take several articles to cover them all. In addition to the above-mentioned, a conviction or arrest affects the following:
- Insurance rates
- Loan rates
- Youth Volunteer Position (Boy Scouts, Little League)
- Foster parenting and Adoption
- Personal Life and Self Esteem
If you are seeking a record expungement in Rhode Island, give Joshua Macktaz a call and see how we can help set your record straight.