Obtaining employment today is difficult enough. Obtaining employment with a criminal record is next to impossible.
According to the Justice Department over 18 million Americans have criminal records.
Job applicants with criminal records face daunting barriers to obtaining employment. Yet neither federal nor state laws protect such job applicants from what is clearly a form of legal discrimination.
Most large employers maintain a “don’t-hire” policy that provides for the automatic rejection of all job applicants who have criminal records, irrespective of the type of crime that was committed, the age of the conviction, or the degree to which the job applicant has been rehabilitated. Ironically, these types of employment practices make it problematic for a person with criminal record to ever become a law abiding, tax-paying citizen without a job.
There has never been as much job applicant screening as there is today. One reason for all the caution is that employers are under a legal duty to exercise reasonable care in hiring new employees. This includes conducting a complete civil and criminal background check on a job candidate. Should an employer not exercise reasonable care in the hiring process and the subject employee subsequently injures or harms another person during employment, the company can be held legally responsible for the damages caused by that employee, under the accepted body of law known as negligent hiring and supervision.
One option for the ex-offender is to seek legal counsel to determine whether he/she qualifies for expungement of their criminal record. The requirements, procedure and eligibility for expungement can vary between state jurisdictions. The relief available will depend on two major factors: first, whether the conviction was for a serious felony and second, the age of the conviction. It is irrelevant whether the ex-offender pled guilty or no contest to the original criminal offense.
Expungement generally refers to a judicially ordered elimination of one's criminal record and the destruction of all related arrest and conviction records from public view. Expungement, when successfully performed, not only brings closure and relief for the ex-offender, it opens the door to reentry to society and the workplace. There are also other benefits such as becoming eligible for housing assistance, the ability to obtain a professional license and even being legally eligible for student loans.
Not all crimes qualify for expungement. The severity of the crime will play a major role in whether expungement will be granted by the court. Many jurisdictions prohibit expungement for violent crimes such as murder, rape, child molestation, and arson. Most jurisdictions require that a minimum amount of time must pass (usually seven years) after the successful completion of probation before an ex-offender can legally apply to the court for expungement of the criminal record.
Finally, there must not have been any arrests between the time probation was successfully completed, up until the time the court considers the ex-offenders application for expungement.
The best advice is to consult with a criminal defense attorney who if familiar with the local rules concerning expungement, and by visiting GotTrouble.com
for more information on state criminal laws, criminal defense lawyers, criminal procedure, and expungement services.