People often make major mistakes when they are young that they would never dream of making later in life. People with more world experience understand the consequences that could result from questionable decisions and also have an easier time evaluating the long-term risk associated with certain behavior.
Young adults in their teens and twenties have yet had time to fully develop their frontal lobes, so they often make impulsive and dangerous decisions that would shock the average adult. If your youthful mistake involved shoplifting from a store, experimenting with drugs or driving home drunk from a high school party, you might have a criminal record that continues to limit your opportunities.
If you want to apply for a new job or will soon be up for a big promotion, you may want to look into Washington’s second chance or redemption laws so that you can leave your criminal record behind you.
Your record will limit your opportunities for years
A criminal record can be a warning that someone isn’t the right candidate for a job involving certain risk factors, but there are many professions, like manufacturing, where criminal records would have minimal impact on a worker’s ability to safely perform a job.
Employers may subtly discriminate against those with criminal records despite rules against such behavior. In theory, Washington state has relatively lenient laws when it comes to criminal records. With a few exceptions, employers generally should not consider any crimes that occurred more than 10 years ago.
However, companies will often look back at someone’s complete criminal record and may even purchase background check services from private companies that go much deeper than a public records search typically would. Instead of depending on a company to do the right thing, it may be a much smarter move to seal your criminal record so that your arrest or conviction is no longer publicly accessible.
The benefits of redemption far outweigh the costs
Sealing specific records or expunging prior offenses will take an investment of both time and resources. However, when you consider the chilling effect that your criminal record has on your professional opportunities and income, you may realize that the investments in clearing those blemishes from your official record far outweigh the expense. If it has been years since your prior offense, you deserve a second chance.
Moving on with your life by making use of Washington’s redemption laws can help you leave a youthful mistake in your past.