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Understanding how criminal charges can impact a job search

You're facing criminal charges. You've already lost your job, and you don't have that much in savings. You know that your first order of business, as soon as you can legally do it, is to land another job. You must provide for your family.

If you're convicted, your criminal record could absolutely impact your ability to get that new job or start a new career. Technically speaking, you may have all of the same opportunities that other applicants have. If you go to jail for 12 months and then get out, for example, you've paid that legal debt. You're free to work once again.

That doesn't mean you're walking into the office with the same opportunities, though, in reality. You have a 12-month gap in your employment history that you have to try to explain. Those charges are likely going to show up on a background check. Your potential employer may know you paid your legal debt, but that doesn't mean these are not red flags.

It's so crucial to know your rights and the impact these charges can have on your future right from the beginning. You know what your future holds, and you can start planning for it.

For example, a background check won't show anything that got erased. If you have the charges dismissed because there was no evidence you did anything wrong, your potential boss likely isn't going to see that the police arrested you. Other information that may be erased includes records that you legally had expunged, charges you faced in court prior to a verdict declaring that you weren't guilty, or even a sentence you got when you were a minor.

One of the key things you should take from this is that facing charges is about more than just the charges themselves. Perhaps you originally worried that you were going to get five years behind bars, so 12 months is better than you assumed. While that's great, you're not just thinking about 12 months or five years. You're not just thinking about your legal debt to society.

You're thinking about the rest of your life.

If you get out of jail and you can't land a job, it's like being in a second prison. You want to get your life back on track. You want to provide for your family. You want to put the mistake behind you and move on.

But you can't, because that record still stands in your way.

Understanding the gravity of the situation is important, but it's also crucial to know what legal options you have. Can you get the charges dropped? What tactics are best to preserve your future? What should you think of beyond the verdict handed down in your case? Make sure you consider all aspects of the case carefully, along with your legal rights.

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