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What charges lead to a criminal record and can you avoid it?

On Behalf of | Jan 5, 2022 | Firm News |

There are numerous kinds of criminal charges in Pennsylvania. You could face charges at the state level or allegations brought by the federal government. Lawbreaking ranges from mistakes that lead to traffic tickets to violent criminal offenses that could lead to permanent incarceration.

Certain criminal activity will result in a criminal record that affects your future for years to come. Employers, colleges and even landlords often look at your criminal history when making decisions about whether to cooperate with you in some manner.

What kind of offenses will lead to a criminal record in Pennsylvania?

Misdemeanors and felonies will show up on background checks

Actual criminal charges that require someone to enter a plea will typically lead to a criminal record. Both misdemeanor and felony offenses will turn up on a background check looking at your criminal history. In fact, online state records will show arrests and charges, in addition to the eventual plea or resolution for the charges.

Although it will not lead to an actual criminal record, the state does record and report certain civil infractions. A record of your traffic citations may be available to insurance companies and to employers that would have you drive as part of your job.

How can you limit what goes on your criminal record?

Some people can prevent a charge from becoming part of their criminal record. Juveniles can often remove youthful arrests and convictions from their permanent record, allowing them to leave behind youthful mistakes that could limit their futures indefinitely otherwise.

Those who go through specialized court diversion programs, like the Pennsylvania drug courts, could also avoid a permanent criminal record if they successfully complete all of the requirements set by the drug courts. Problem-solving courts focus on rehabilitation and helping people move on from mistakes.

Additionally, in certain scenarios, individuals with a criminal record can expunge or seal their records so that old offenses no longer turn up in background searches. Perhaps the best way to avoid career and educational consequences of a criminal record is to avoid having one in the first place.

Fighting back against pending criminal charges can help you keep a clean record.