The Impact of Having a Criminal Record in Florida

Criminal Background Checks: The Impact of Having a Criminal Record

Imagine what it's like to make one mistake and have it follow you for the rest of your life. That's the case for countless people in the US today. Did you know that around 70 million American adults currently have arrest records?

This amounts to around 1 in 3 people—a staggering amount. Criminal background checks are a nightmare for those without expunged or sealed criminal records.

The impact of having a criminal record is like having a black mark beside your name, which can affect corners of your life you may never even have considered. In short, it makes life much harder for those with one.

If you're wondering about all the different ways a Florida court record can affect your life—or how to expunge criminal records—you're in the right place. Read on for everything you need to know.

The Tenant Screening Process

In most places, most landlords are entitled and even encouraged to look into the backgrounds of potential tenants before leasing a unit to them, and Florida is no different. Landlords see this as a safeguard against taking on unreliable or dangerous tenants. A criminal background check is usually part of a tenant screening.

Unfortunately, many landlords will view a criminal background as a red flag for potential tenants and decide to go with another renter instead. This can make finding a stable and safe place to live difficultly.

Applying for a Job

Although not every employer will do this, it is common practice for HR departments and businesses to do routine background checks into applicants' lives and pasts. This will sometimes include a criminal background check. Again, many employers see a criminal history as a negative thing and as a possible indicator of future bad behavior.

On top of this, there are specific roles you're disallowed from fulfilling if you have a criminal background. Depending on your convicted crimes, you could be banned from working in law enforcement occupations and military enlistment. 

While Florida law does prohibit state and local agencies from denying a person a license, permit, or certificate to engage in a particular profession or industry based on a prior conviction, felony convictions involving sex and or narcotics will automatically disqualify a person from obtaining a teaching certificate and becoming a teacher.

Applying for Financing

Another instance in which an entity will do a lot of research into your background is if you're applying for a loan from a bank or other financial institution as standard practice, banks and lenders tend to do thorough research on anyone they're lending any amount of money to. This is part of the due diligence necessary to protect themselves from loss and fraud.

Depending on your record, it could be enough to make lenders turn you away. Banks are usually wary about lending to people who don't have clean records.

Setting Up an Insurance Policy

Believe it or not, many insurance lenders refuse to give policies to people convicted of a crime. The idea is that this is riskier than insuring people with clean criminal records. Not only that, but an insurance company will sometimes refuse to insure those living with or connected to a person with a criminal record.

If you can find an insurance company willing to give you a policy, you'll likely find that you'll end up paying a much higher premium than an average person without a record would. This is to offset the perceived risk of insuring a person whose record isn't completely clean.

Volunteering and Charity Work

While some welcome people from all walks of life and all backgrounds, other charities and organizations are more hesitant to hire people with criminal records. If you're passionate about giving back to your community, you might find yourself unable to engage in the kind of work you love most.

Many charitable organizations have blanket policies precluding people with records from working with them. Others will assess applicants on a case-by-case basis.

Children and Criminal Background Checks

A criminal record can impact your life as a parent or potential parent. However, one of the biggest is when it comes to child custody cases. If you have a child and end up in a custody battle, your criminal record could reduce your chances of gaining full or partial custody.

Similarly, if you were hoping to adopt a child, you might not be able if you've got a criminal record. This can vary from state to state and from agency to agency.

Owning a Firearm

Federal law states that people who have been convicted of a felony or some domestic violence misdemeanors are generally prohibited from purchasing or possessing firearms. Florida law is much the same. It states that anybody convicted of a felony can't legally own a gun.

What Can You Do?

If you have a record, the good news is that sealing and expunging criminal records are possible. With a few exceptions, many people who have criminal records can go on to live every day and unfettered lives.

To expunge your record, you'll need to meet specific criteria. You must not have had another record sealed or expunged. You must also not have been found guilty of any other criminal offense.

Another option is to have your record sealed. This means the public won't have access to your record.

The criteria are somewhat similar to those of expunction. You also must not have committed any disqualifying offenses involving violence, children, and robbery.

Wipe Your Slate Clean: Deal With Your Record Today

Before having a record, you'd probably be surprised about all the different ways criminal background checks creep into every aspect of your life. In Florida, a criminal record can be a crippling thing to live with.

Please contact us today if you think you might be eligible to have your record expunged or sealed. You deserve to live an unrestricted life, which we can hopefully help you with.  

Call us at 727-588-0966 today.

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