facts and myths in the legal world
Alicia Lucero
Alicia Lucero

Myths & facts about having a criminal record in North America

Let’s face it, nobody wants a criminal record.

But, there are situations in life where we need to face the facts about this subject so that you know what is true, and what is false.

Each city, county, and state has different legal structures in this regard, but this article covers them all in a general fashion. Due to the nature of constantly changing laws, always call your local criminal attorney to be fully up-to-date on what is a myth, and what is a fact.

Having a criminal record is undoubtedly a serious challenge with a huge possibility of an unpleasant future.

For instance, having a criminal record may affect an individual’s prospects of securing employment and may also prevent someone from traveling outside the country or outside certain jurisdictions.

While having a criminal record is a serious issue, there are myths and facts associated with it.

Below, we’ll explore some of the myths and facts.

Myth: All criminal records are the same

Fact: Not all criminal checks are the same. Some of the common ones include;

County-level criminal search – a researcher at the courthouse level conducts the search manually and may take more than a day to get the results. Usually used by employers.

Myth: All felonies are serious crimes

Fact: What constitutes a crime against a misdemeanor or offense has many degrees of severity depending on the nature of the offense.

Myth: A criminal conviction can be used forever against an applicant

Fact: In the United States the FCRA does not restrict criminal convictions, but a growing number of states do. Normally, criminal convictions reports last approximately 3 years for a misdemeanor and 5 years for felony cases after conviction. However, crimes like sex offenses may last beyond 5 years. There is still contention over the matter hence for that reason; the issue is under close watch.

Myth: the case will be deleted from my records in 5 – 10 years provided I stay out of trouble

Fact: criminal convictions are not sealed or deleted automatically just because a certain period has elapsed. While your eligibility may be dependent on a certain length of time, the process of expungement is not automatic.

Myth: Appealing a criminal case is easy

Fact: For people with criminal records, getting an appeal after a court ruling is sometimes difficult due to the tedious paperwork required by lawyers and the uncertainty of the way forward. People with criminal records, therefore, face the harsh reality of never getting to appeal their ruling, even when the ruling was very harsh according to crimes committed.

According to wagnerjones.com, many people suffer years of imprisonment without the option of appeal due to the demanding timelines for many lawyers, rigid filing rules in many courts and the rigorous preparation required assessing the cases, and preparing file work required before the appeal is first presented in court.

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