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What Is a Criminal Record?

Being arrested, charged, or convicted of a crime will result in a criminal record. A criminal record is a list of information about your offense that is compiled, kept, and shared by law enforcement agencies. Having a criminal record can cause substantial impacts on your life and can present hurdles when you are seeking employment, trying to getting federal funding for college, or looking for a place to live, among other things. Your record can also result in your being subject to increased penalties should you be charged and convicted of another offense.

What Information Is on a Criminal Record?

Your criminal record begins the moment you're arrested for an offense. The arresting agency will take a report of the incident and log it in their system. This record is often referred to as your arrest record, and it contains details about the alleged offense.

If you are subsequently charged and convicted of the crime you were arrested for, the information for those actions will also be included in your criminal record.

Your full criminal record may include:

  • Your name
  • Photograph
  • Date of birth
  • Fingerprints
  • Address
  • Conviction information

How Can a Criminal Record Affect Me?

A criminal record can have adverse impacts on your life in many ways. It can make it challenging to qualify for various benefits and opportunities. For instance, if you were convicted of a sex crime or drug offense, your eligibility for federal student aid may be suspended or revoked.

Additionally, if you are going through the hiring process for a job and your potential employer asks if you've been convicted of a crime, you must answer "yes." The company may also run a background check and see your arrest or conviction record, which might influence the final decision. However, the employer cannot ask about your criminal history on the initial application for employment.

Having a previous conviction on your record can also result in increased penalties for subsequent offenses. With a criminal history, you could be designated a persistent offender. In Connecticut, various levels of persistent offenders exist, and the designation depends on the type of offense a person was previously convicted of.

Regardless of the tier, being classified as a persistent offender allows a judge to impose a greater term of imprisonment. For example, if you're found to be a persistent serious felony offender, the judge can sentence you to a prison term lawfully allowed for the degree of felony that's just above the one for the offense you were convicted of.

Are Criminal Records Permanent?

Whether your criminal record is permanent depends on your situation. An arrest record can be automatically erased for charges that were dismissed or you weren't found guilty of. However, if you were convicted of the offense, the arrest would stay on your record, but you can seek to have it removed through an expungement.

If you're eligible, you can request to have your conviction expunged from your record. This effectively blocks the information from public access, and if you're asked if you've ever been convicted of a crime, you can lawfully say "no."

You may also be able to request a pardon for the offense you were convicted of.

If you were arrested, charged, or convicted of an offense in Connecticut, contact Tomeo Sills, LLC to discuss your legal options for clearing up your criminal record. Call us at (844) 913-7747 to request a free consultation.