There are many benefits to expunging your criminal record, the most obvious of which is that any potential background checks will come up clean. But is this really a necessary step? Do others care about past arrests, felonies, or convictions? Simply put, yes. You’ll always come across someone who wants to dig into your past and find a reason for mistrust. While this isn’t always a problem on a personal level, there are times when a look back at past mistakes could hinder your future’s success in terms of work, living, and finances. Below are four people you’ll encounter who will likely run a background check on you for one reason or another.
Not all employers are required to run a criminal background check, but most private employers will opt for it (roughly 80% of employers currently conduct criminal background searches). Employers will typically do a background check on you to see your credit history, driving record, criminal record, etc. There are professional reasons behind this—to verify your identity, age, and security clearance—but truth be told, employers typically want to hire trustworthy individuals. They want to feel confident in their hire. Moreover, laws are complicated, so your criminal record can keep you from getting certain positions or licenses.
It’s common for every lease application to come with a tenant background check; most will even charge you for the cost of screening fees. Landlords want to know who they’re handing the keys to— they’ll check for bad credit, eviction and court records, and employment/rental history. They do this for a number of reasons. Most landlords don’t want an unruly tenant; what they do want is to feel confident that they’ll be receiving rent payments, protect themselves from liability, reduce tenant turnover, and keep their community safe.
Lenders and bank professionals
Getting a loan is an extensive process that comes with a hefty stack of paperwork. Because there is a large amount of money exchanging hands, lenders will perform applicant background checks before issuing a loan. Their job is to assess the risk associated with giving a loan to someone. Applicants undergo background checks to determine whether they’ll be approved and what their interest rate will be. While the degree and extent of the background vary on the type of loan, lenders might discriminate based on a criminal record.
Neighbors or friends
While mere acquaintances are less likely to run a background check on you, it’s still a possibility. People tend to choose their company carefully. Some will choose to run a background check on friends, neighbors, acquaintances, and even potential dates. When it comes down to it, people don’t need to justify their reasons for performing these checks because the information they find is part of the public record.
Knowing that a conviction is on your record makes it easier to freely apply for jobs, find a new home, and live with a general peace of mind. One in three Americans run into trouble with the law by age 23; this doesn’t mean that you have to let your history stand in the way of your success. It’s important to know your rights—you don’t have to let your past hold you back if you’re eligible for an expungement. Keep tomorrow in mind by taking those first steps to clear your record today.