As many as one in three adults has a criminal record, but no one expects their child to be one of them. It’s been a challenging road, but now, with lessons learned, you’re trying to help your child navigate the consequences of their decision. Having a criminal record in the U.S. means that just about everyone can find out, including current and future employers. With joblessness being a leading cause of recidivism, a change to the law was past due.
In 2013, the state of Georgia decided that it would be awarding fresh starts to some people with criminal records. If eligible, criminal records restrictions, previously called expungement, can seal a criminal history, reducing some of the barriers to success.
3 ways criminal records restrictions can help
- Work. In the state of Georgia, applicants with a criminal history can compete for a job before disclosing any criminal records. The employer will still have the option of denying employment based on the circumstances, however. With a criminal record restriction, employers would not need to know about your child’s history.
- Transportation. Depending on the type of crime, obtaining a driver’s license may be a challenge. Add to that, when insurance companies find out about the record, rates will increase dramatically.
- Custody. Even a nonviolent criminal record can damage a person’s chances of gaining custody of their child. Having a criminal record restricted and showing evidence of commitment to a healthy lifestyle can create better positioning in a custody hearing.
Although this is a dream come true for those with nonviolent criminal records, the legal process is not straightforward. Because the record was once public, remnants of that record may still exist in private databases, still accessible by the public. You need to partner with someone who knows this process and can give your child the best chance at a fresh start.