Juvenile and Adult criminal records will haunt college students when applying for a job or a professional license – perhaps forever.  See a more recent post here about mugshot websites. Therefore, the main goal should be to avoid leaving a criminal conviction on a student’s record and also properly seal or expunge arrest records whenever possible. But, many times  a criminal record exists and must be dealt with when thinking realistically about a future career BEFORE attending a costly college program or obtaining a graduate degree in a field which the student may be barred from entering because of a criminal conviction.

First, laws vary from state to state but in general when a student is arrested and the charges are dismissed he may be eligible to have the records of the arrest sealed or expunged – meaning taken out of the public record or destroyed. This is the case in Florida and for many purposes after having a record sealed or expunged the student may legally deny having ever been arrested.  The laws are very tricky, have many exceptions and a student should always consult a criminal attorney to discuss the legal effects of having a record sealed or expunged.

Also, depending on the State juvenile arrest and conviction records may or may not be confidential.  For example, in Florida all juvenile records are completely confidential therefore not necessary to seal or expunge. But, in Texas they are not and will show up on background searches for employment.

This process of sealing and expunging a criminal record may be very helpful when a student is seeking a job in this very competitive market either during college or after graduation.  A potential employer can at his discretion decide not to hire someone based on a criminal record – even if the student was not convicted and all charges were dismissed.  Click here to read more about what we are doing at our firm to keep expunged records off the Internet.

But, sometimes a criminal conviction cannot be avoided and cannot be removed. In this situation it is critically important that students and their parents seriously consider the effect a conviction can have on a student’s future career choice.  For example, certain convictions will forever bar a student from becoming a teacher, a doctor, a lawyer or many other careers requiring state or federal licensing.  Unfortunately, colleges and universities are not advising students that their criminal record may prevent them for the career of their choice.  Many students are very disappointed and in debt after years of college and graduate school and then learn they can’t get licensed in their field and are unemployable.