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JBABB Criminal Defense Attorneys offer full service legal representation for those affected by Texas law enforcement or the Texas criminal court system.

Your criminal record in the modern age

JBABB Law - Criminal Defense Attorney

Once upon a time, a criminal record was a straightforward endeavor. It was a physical piece of paper held in your municipality that listed convictions during your adult life, and could be transferred via fax or by mail. Employers had to make a formal request to take a peek at it, and that could only happen with your explicit permission. As you well know, that is not the time we currently live in. We have the internet, social media, online video sharing, and the constant threat of our personal information being hacked and made public. Needless to say, we live in an infinitely more complex world than the one I previously spoke about. 

This begs a few questions, such as:

      Who can see my criminal record?

      What’s on my criminal record?

      What information is easily found online?

Well, I’ll start by saying that the system is different from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. We are perpetually oversharing online –the courts are no exception- and our private documents never seem to be as secure as we’d previously thought.

Despite the theoretical privity of your criminal record, aspects of your criminal history may be readily available with some simple internet searches. The biggest danger here is that it may show arrests that didn’t lead to convictions, which wouldn’t traditionally be on a criminal record. This can deter a potential employer from hiring a person, even though they were never actually convicted of a crime. It is extremely hard to make a case for your past innocence when you don’t know what your potential employer is seeing online. So, to answer the question of who can see your criminal record, technically only those given explicit permission, however there is an alarming amount of information and misinformation online that can hurt your image.

The simplest answer to what is on a criminal record is convictions. A conviction will always appear on your permanent criminal record, the only exception being certain aspects of juvenile records that don’t carry over into an adult record. The biggest question that is asked is whether or not an arrest will end up on a criminal record. The answer again is that it depends, but it is safe to say that more and more this information is becoming available unless steps are taken to clean up the record.  However, it is against the law in most states to use an arrest that didn’t result in a conviction as a reason to not employ someone. It is viewed as discriminatory. Moreover, most states bar employers from seeing an arrest record in the first place. It is, however, perfectly legal for an employer to ask if a person has been arrested and is still pending a trial, and it is also perfectly usable as grounds for not hiring somebody.

The final question of what is easily found online has an extremely complicated answer. It honestly depends. It depends on the security of one’s criminal record, which is typically out of the control of an individual, but it also is inherently dependent on how much information a person shares online, which is obviously completely in the control of an individual. What a potential employer can’t find out about you from a criminal record inquiry, they can find perfectly legally by looking at your Facebook or Twitter posts. 

Our privacy isn’t always in our own control, but the best advice I could leave you with is to take responsibility for what you share about yourself online. There are some things that should remain totally unsaid.

For what you do say, always have adept and passionate defense on your side. Call or message JBABB Criminal Defense Lawyers today for a free consultation.