If you’ve applied to a job recently, you might have seen a checkbox on the application inquiring whether you had ever been convicted of a crime. Is that fair? After all, one rationale of incarceration is rehabilitation. After an individual has served a sentence, he or she should have the right to reenter society and start afresh. However, statistical data paints a different picture.
According to data analyzing the approximately 70 million Americans with a criminal record, many earn 10 to 40 percent less than similarly situated colleagues. A criminal record may also be an obstacle to career advancement. In fact, one research experiment indicated that a criminal record was a substantial bar to getting a job offer in the first place. Compared to other applicants, those with a criminal record received an offer of employment only half as often.
An increasing number of states are allowing individuals who have been convicted of a crime to request the court to seal or expunge their records. Specifically, over 30 states expanded programs offering this relief from 2009 to 2014. In a tough job market, it is easy to see why this might be a smart career move.
Our criminal law firm offers a variety of post-conviction services. Expungement and sealing of records are two areas where we have helped clients. In order to qualify for this relief, an individual typically must have met all of the terms of his or her sentence. For that reason, it can be very important to challenge any alleged probation violations.
Our law firm also offers a broad range of criminal defense assistance through the entire course of a case. From the initial defense through any criminal appeals, we are experienced at looking for case law that might call for a different outcome regarding the exclusion or inclusion of key evidence, or that might call a prosecutor’s aggressive tactics into question.
Source: Bloomberg, “Some Crimes Can Be Forgotten,” Peter R. Orszag & Cass R. Sunstein, April 28, 2016