Many things will positively influence your income, from your level of education to your prior experience. However, there are also things that can hamper your earning potential, and even exclude you from certain roles altogether.
A criminal record is an example of this, so what exactly will the fallout be on your career and finances if you have one, and how can you avoid this in the first place, or rebuild your life and reputation after acquiring one?
The Basics: What Is A Criminal Record And How Does It Affect Your Earning Ability?
A criminal record is an official document that contains details of convictions, cautions, reprimands, or warnings given to individuals by the police for committing any form of offense. This can include minor offenses such as traffic violations, all the way up to more serious crimes like assaults and theft.
Having a criminal record can have major implications on your earning ability in many ways, from creating difficulties when applying for jobs due to employers performing background checks during hiring processes, right through to being restricted from certain types of employment completely.
And of course if you’re already employed when accused of or convicted of a crime, your employer could have reasonable grounds for dismissing you, which will of course disrupt your income immediately.
Depending on the nature of the crime, it might even be possible for the authorities to freeze your assets. This could have dire implications for you and your household, especially if you’re the main breadwinner.
Important Steps To Take If You’re Accused Of A Crime
If you are accused of committing a crime, then the very first thing you should do is contact an experienced criminal defense law firm who can advise on your rights and how best to protect yourself.
It’s important that any evidence or statements provided during questioning by police officers or other law enforcement officials be done so with legal counsel present.
There’s a reason that you have both the right to remain silent, and a right to an attorney. Failing to invoke either of these could result in you accidentally saying the wrong thing, and thus accidentally incriminating yourself.
Police questioning tactics and techniques are generally built around getting suspects to either confess outright, or implicate themselves in the alleged criminal act through statements that are open to interpretation. Knowing this is half the battle, so bring a lawyer onboard immediately and you’ll save yourself from a world of hurt.
If possible, try and gather as much evidence in support of your innocence as soon as possible. This can include witness testimonies or video recordings from security cameras, which may back up your alibi and stop any criminal proceedings against you there and then.
Finally, don’t lose hope. Being accused of a crime does not have to be a disaster, and with the right support you can set things straight without compromising your earning ability or your reputation.
Job Prospects With A Criminal Background
As mentioned, having a criminal record can make it difficult to find work and progress in your career. Depending on the type of offense, employers may decide not to hire based solely on the presence of an unfavorable background check result.
In particular, certain industries or roles might be off-limits due to licensing restrictions which prevent those convicted from working in them. This includes areas such as healthcare or law enforcement, for obvious reasons.
That said, there are still some job opportunities available even with a criminal record, although your prospects can be substantially narrower, depending on your aims and ambitions.
Ways To Address Your Employment History On Applications And In Interviews
When it comes to disclosing your criminal record during the job application process, honesty is always best. If you do have a conviction or pending charges that could be revealed during background checks, then make sure this information is provided upfront on the application and your resume, as failing to do so can result in an employer not trusting what you say later down the line.
During interviews, also ensure any questions related to convictions or cautions are answered truthfully. Employers tend to be more understanding if they feel like they’re being transparently informed about all relevant details of an applicant’s employment history.
Advice For Finding Work After Serving Time Or Having A Conviction Expunged
If you’ve served time in prison or had your conviction expunged from your record, then it’s important that you look beyond just the traditional job market when seeking employment.
Consider pitching yourself to companies which specifically hire ex-offenders, as these organizations understand and are sympathetic towards those who have gone through difficult times.
Additionally, don’t be afraid of taking on volunteer work either. This can help build up experience and references, which may prove invaluable during future job searches.
Making The Most Out Of Life Despite Being Labeled As A ‘criminal’
Hopefully you can now see that having a criminal record doesn’t mean you’ll never be able to find employment or progress in your career.
By taking advantage of any support and resources available, such as those offered by rehabilitation programs or job centers, it’s possible to rebuild your life in this context.
There are also several charities which specialize in helping ex-offenders back on their feet, so make sure to research these thoroughly and take full advantage of all opportunities presented.
And of course one of your other options is starting your own business and becoming your own boss, or even going freelance. Lots of industries and specialisms do not discriminate against those with criminal records, and so you can plow your own furrow and find your feet, while also boosting your earning potential significantly compared with choosing the life of a full-time employee.
The Bottom Line
There’s no avoiding the reality that comes with having a criminal record, and your earning ability will definitely be disrupted, at least in the short term. The main takeaway is that with a good lawyer on your side, a criminal conviction can be sidestepped.