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A criminal record may impact chances for employment

As the economy slowly rights itself, more and more North Carolina residents are finding new employment opportunities. Applicants are brushing off and updating their resumes in hopes of landing their dream job and a chance to bring a steady income to their budget. However, what happens when a job applicant has a criminal record? Can something that you did years ago ruin your chance for employment?

This is what one Charlotte woman discovered when she applied for a job through a temp agency. The agency required a copy of her criminal history and to the woman's surprise, a 20-year-old drug charge still remained on her record. The agency never contacted the woman again.

Sadly, this woman isn't alone. It is estimated that 1.5 million North Carolina residents have a criminal record that may potentially impact their chances for new employment. In fact, the problem doesn't just stop at job opportunities. Child custody, public assistance and even occupational licenses can all be affected by a criminal history.

Thankfully, the problem was recently addressed by state lawmakers this year and they agreed to expand the criteria for "low-level" felonies or "nonviolent misdemeanors." Now, some individuals may have the opportunity to eliminate infractions from their criminal record or have the offense expunged. Additionally, this year's new legislation specifically states that employers cannot request a job applicant to supply information about any previous criminal charges that have been expunged.

Everyone makes mistakes. However, it is difficult to move forward in life if that lapse in judgement continues to stand in the way. Consulting with an attorney to see if there are options available for your specific situation may be the first step in creating your new future.

Source: WNCN, "NC expanding rules for erasing criminal records," Jeff Reeves, Aug. 24, 2013

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