Thousands of Louisiana residents every year get arrested for criminal infractions. The vast majority of those charged with criminal offenses in Louisiana decide to plead guilty instead of taking their case to trial. Those convicted at trial and those who plead guilty face numerous challenges in the future, not the least of which are the limitations generated by a criminal record. Some people with Louisiana criminal records may be eligible for an expungement.
Expungement or record sealing proceedings allow those previously convicted of a criminal offense to remove the public record of their conviction. Expungements often require professional legal representation and a hearing in court. Many people fail to make use of Louisiana’s expungement laws in part because they do not see the value in the process. What benefits do people derive from expunging a criminal record?
Improved career opportunities
A criminal record may hold someone back from getting a high-paying job or securing a promotion even when they already have a job at a company. Businesses perform background checks when hiring new workers and also when deciding who to promote. Those with criminal records often have a hard time obtaining the best job opportunities possible. In some cases, they may struggle to pursue educational opportunities as well, as both institutions of higher education and financial aid organizations tend to perform background checks.
Parties ranging from landlords to employers may perform background checks, and those who have lost out on opportunities due to a failed criminal background check may start subconsciously limiting their own options in life. People may refuse to apply for a new job or a better apartment because they assume that their criminal record will prevent them from succeeding. They don’t want to waste the money on a rental application or their time on putting together a new resume if their chances of success are minimal.
When someone no longer has to worry about a mistake from years ago turning up during a background check, they may become more ambitious and more willing to invest in their own future. Not only does an expungement open the door for more opportunities in life, but it may help someone feel more confident about knocking at that door.