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How a Criminal Record Can Affect Your Future

It’s a common misconception that only those found guilty of a crime have a criminal record. However, if you’re arrested, charged, or convicted of a crime, Texas will put this information on your criminal record.

After “paying your debt to society” through fines, jail time, or probation, many people believe they can now put this chapter behind them and start fresh. Unfortunately, a person’s criminal history can make that a difficult thing to do.

The Effects of a Criminal History

Employment

Employers can disqualify candidates for a number of reasons, including a previous arrest or conviction.

Additionally, Texas has laws that disqualify felons from applying for certain jobs throughout the state, including law enforcement, teaching, the restaurant/bar industry, and medical first responders.

Schooling

A criminal history can affect a person interested in going to college, attending trade school, or starting their own business. Not only can schools deny a person because of their criminal history, but certain drug or sexual convictions also prohibit you from receiving grants or student loans.

Housing

Landlords can deny a person’s application because of their criminal record or probationary status. Unfortunately, this doesn’t just affect the person who has a criminal history, it also affects their family and children.

Furthermore, not having access to safe, affordable housing can also affect a person’s ability to maintain custody or visitation.

Driving Privileges

If a person’s offense involved alcohol or drugs, especially while driving, it can lead to a 180-day suspension of their driver’s license or a restricted license. A person may also be required to take a drug education course before regaining their right to drive.

Your Right to Bear Arms

Texas law states that convicted felons must wait five years after their prison or parole sentence has ended to legally own a firearm. Additionally, people with a felony conviction can only own a firearm in their residence, even well after the five year waiting period has ended. If your prison sentence ended 10 years ago and you’re found with a legal firearm in your car, you could be charged with unlawful possession of a firearm.

Certain class A misdemeanor and felony convictions will make you completely ineligible to carry a firearm.

Harsher Punishments for Subsequent Crimes

During sentencing, courts take a few different things into consideration, including your criminal history. This is why first-time offenders tend to receive lesser sentences.

If you have a criminal history (even if it was from many years ago), it can lead to more severe penalties if you’re convicted of a recent crime.

Do You Qualify for Expunction or Nondisclosure?

Because of these restrictions on school, housing, and your liberties, many people with a criminal history request to have their record cleaned up through expunction or nondisclosure:

  • While expunction is more widespread and permanent, it’s also very limited. Many convictions are not eligible for an expunction request.
  • Nondisclosure (also known as having a record sealed) is more widely accessible, however it only hides certain offenses from public record meaning the history is still visible to law enforcement and government agencies.

Below are offenses that are ineligible for expunction or nondisclosure:

  • Offenses that required you to register as a sex offender;
  • Murder and capital murder;
  • Aggravated kidnapping;
  • Injury to a child, elderly or disabled person;
  • Abandoning or endangering a child;
  • Certain family violence offenses, sexual assault or abuse offenses, or stalking offenses.

Are you looking to have your record expunged or sealed? Marsala Law Group will take the time to get to know you and learn about your circumstances. Schedule a free consultation by calling us at (940) 386-6848 or contacting us online.