Although everyone makes mistakes, not all of them have far-reaching consequences as committing crime does. Unfortunately, one slip-up with the law can have a lasting detriment on all aspects of your life. While people like to say that you are not what you have done, it seems not to apply to those with a criminal history.
Fortunately, you have ways to lessen your criminal record and thus reduce the effects it has on your employment and housing options. It can also help you move on from your past to begin your second chance at life.
One approach you may be eligible for is an expungement. This means that the court will seal your record so that prospective employers, landlords and the general public cannot see it. Only under specific circumstances can certain people have access to it, such as the State Board of Education if you are trying to become a teacher. Otherwise, it is as if the crimes did not exist. Qualification for expungement depends on the type of crime you wish to remove. The type also determines how long you will have to wait before you can request an expungement.
Another action you may be able to take is to file for a 402 reduction, which decreases the severity of a conviction by one or two levels. For example, a third-degree felony can become a Class A misdemeanor. How much of a reduction you may receive depends on the prosecution's cooperation. The court has a say on one-level changes, but in order to receive two, the prosecution must also agree to it. As with expungement, only certain types of crimes apply, and you have to meet other requirements.
Reductions are beneficial because the lessening of the conviction also means the lessening of the waiting period for expunging your record. They can also eliminate some hurdles in finding a job and place to live. Through these two options, it is possible for you to end the continual punishment for the criminal life you have left behind.