It is often said that a criminal record changes your life forever. It shouldn’t always be like that. In California, as in many other places, the consequences can be varied and affect areas such as employment, housing, and civil rights. This article will explore how your criminal record can influence different aspects of your life.

1. Employment and Job Opportunities
Most employers conduct background checks before hiring someone. This is especially true if the job involves high trust or responsibility. A criminal record can make it challenging to find employment, as some employers may be reluctant to hire individuals with prior convictions. However, not all offenses have the same impact. Some employers may be lenient with minor or old crimes, while others may have stricter policies.

2. Housing and Renting
Landlords also often conduct background checks before renting a property. If you have a criminal record, some landlords may hesitate to lease. However, not all landlords have the same policies. Some may be willing to consider other factors, such as the time elapsed since the conviction or the nature of the offense.

3. Civil Rights and Restrictions
A criminal record can affect your civil rights. For example, if you have a felony conviction, you may be unable to vote while in prison or on parole. Additionally, some professions require state licenses or certifications, and a criminal record can make it challenging to obtain these credentials.

4. Record Expungement
In California, you can request your criminal record through form BCIA 8016RR. This involves taking your fingerprints at a Live Scan location and paying a $25 fee to the California Department of Justice. Additionally, after employers make a conditional job offer, they may order a criminal background check that only goes back seven years (with some exceptions). This means they cannot see convictions older than seven years and cannot reject you based on convictions more than seven years old.