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What are the ramifications of a criminal record?

A criminal record can have many consequences on your life. It can affect your employment, housing, reputation, insurance costs and even entering another country such as the United States. Fighting a criminal charge with the best defense possible is important. You should make every attempt to get the offense discharged or reduced if possible.

Employment: With a criminal record, there are certain professions in which you cannot work. For one, you cannot work as a police officer. You may also not be able to get licensed to work in certain professions. Doctors, nurses, lawyers, engineers, architects, pharmacists, dentists or even acupuncturists are some of the professional titles that may be denied to you.

Housing: A landlord can refuse to lease to you if you have a criminal record. There is no law that prohibits discriminating against criminals when in the housing market.

Reputation: This one is pretty self-explanatory. Having a criminal reputation may affect how others treat you, and rumors often embellish the offenses.

Insurance: Insurers can, and may, take into account your criminal record or even a criminal record your spouse may have when deciding to insure you. They can also reject a claim later if you failed to disclose your record. An insurer can deny, request higher premiums or provide reduced coverage if your criminal record is considered to be a factor.

Travel: The United States will deny entry if you have a criminal record related to drugs, prostitution, national security, terrorism, or other offenses considered moral turpitude. They can also deny entry if you have been deemed guilty of multiple offenses and have been sentenced to more than five years of confinement.

Are criminal records expunged after a certain period? No, unless you are under 18 years old when the crime occurred. In that case, the record would be suspended after one year. However, if you want the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to suspend your records, which is to make them inaccessible, you can submit an application for a "record of suspension." If approved, it does not mean that from here on out, when completing applications or being asked if you have ever been found guilty of a crime, you can say "No." Your record will just be inaccessible.

Source: É, "The Impact of a Criminal Record," accessed Jan. 29, 2016

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