How A Criminal Record Affects Your Life
There are over 11 million people in the UK with a criminal record, so it’s something that affects a lot of people. Some people end up with one through deliberate actions, others through neglect or problems with mental health or addiction.
However you end up with a criminal record, a common question is – how will it affect my life now and in the future?
The Type of Crime Counts
The main thing to realise when it comes to criminal records is that not all crimes are equal. When you think about it, crimes are treated differently under the law, with more serious crimes receiving more severe punishment. People with violent or sexual offences on their criminal record will find it much more difficult to find a job, housing, and access other support.
If you have been convicted of lesser or more minor offences such as theft, fraud, or substance misuse, you may find it more difficult to access jobs and housing than someone with a clean record, but not impossible.
The Length of Time Counts
If you committed a violent crime 20 years ago and have a clean record since, it is much better than having a violent crime that was committed just five years ago, or even ten years. It’s also worth realising that some crimes are never considered to be “spent”, i.e. you will be expected to disclose the offence for the remainder of your life, when it is deemed appropriate – on job applications, for instance.
In general, if the crime committed was less severe in nature and the person was sentenced to less than 30 months in jail, the conviction will become spent after 11 years. For people that were under the age of 18 when the offence was committed, the crime would be considered to be spent after 5 and a half years.
How A Criminal Record Affects An Individual’s Life
The following is an outline of how having convictions or offences listed on your criminal record can make things difficult in everyday life.
Having any kind of offence or conviction on your record is bound to affect your chances of landing a job, especially those that require higher levels of responsibility and trust.
Enrolling In Education
It is difficult to get accepted onto higher education courses with unspent convictions on your record. This is especially true for vocational studies that are likely to end up working with children or vulnerable adults such as teaching or nursing.
It’s one that people may not consider, but getting insurance such as homeowners or car insurance may be difficult or more expensive.
If you serve more than 5 years in prison for a single crime, you will be barred from jury service for the rest of your life. If you have unspent convictions you will also be disqualified until the conviction becomes spent.
Barred From Some Public Service Jobs
People that have served prison time are unable to obtain high level positions in the police force, even if the sentence was suspended. Local council positions are also out of the question if you have been imprisoned within the past 5 years.
Having offences listed on your criminal record will almost certainly cause you some problems, but as long as the crimes were not too severe and you have kept a clean record for a long time, it’s not the end of the world.
The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 has helped to even out the playing field and makes it much easier for reformed criminals to find gainful employment.
The main thing to note is that if you have convictions on your record, be sure to disclose them when asked. Most employers ask for a DBS check these days and if they discover that you omitted it on your application, you will blow any chance of getting the job.
To find out more about criminal records, DBS checks, and any other safeguarding issues, please get in touch today.