For many people, criminal charges ruin their livelihood, social standing and mental health. Criminal records can follow an individual everywhere, and typically, it follows them for life.
Those with a history of criminal misconduct, time served or other legal battles often face a stigma from the rest of society. Employment or tenancy screenings are more difficult with a record. However, there is hope for a normal life after your encounter with the law.
Truthfully acknowledge your situation
You must assume that your criminal record will not remain a secret unless it qualifies for sealing or expungement. Whatever happens, do not lie about your past. Be honest when responding to questions, but you do not need to volunteer a lot of details. Develop a written statement to use when speaking with potential employers or filling out a lease application.
Understand your legal rights
With a criminal history, you typically lose your rights provided through the federal Fair Housing Act. Colorado does not view felons as members of a protected class. However, Colorado continually evaluates legislation and has a restoration of rights program that you may qualify for, such as your right to vote.
Request letters of recommendation
The testimony or support of individuals in the community could help you gain employment or move on past your criminal record. Make sure the individuals providing the letters speak to your specific qualities and strength of character to overshadow what your record might reflect.
Taking care of your mental health is another key part of moving past your criminal record. Being in the right frame of mind can help you address the physical challenges you are likely to encounter with a criminal past.