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You paid the fines and finished your time in jail. Now, you're getting back into civilian life. And you're realizing that things aren't going back to normal. A criminal conviction impacts your future in so many ways. Here are a few.

Finding housing

Housing will likely be one of the first things you notice that has been affected by your criminal record. Landlords can check your public and credit records as they consider you as a tenant, which means they will likely see your record. The Federal Fair Housing Act protects against blanket discrimination because of a criminal record, but landlords may still be able to reject your application because of specific charges.

Getting a job

Your career will feel the pressure of your criminal record as well. Many employers have policies in place that allow them to let employees go if they are charged with a crime, so you may lose the job you currently have, even if you don't have to do jail time. In both New Jersey and New York, potential employers can refuse to hire you if you have a criminal record, meaning it will be more difficult for you to find a job.

Continuing education

Applying for school with a criminal record is possible, but it can be much more difficult. You will likely also not be eligible to receive financial aid if you have a drug offense, misdemeanor or a felony.

Traveling

You may want to see the world once you've been release from jail, but a criminal record may hinder you. You may not be able to get a passport and some countries ban the entry of those with certain offenses.

A criminal record can change your life, but there are ways to gain a brighter future. Ask a criminal defense attorney if you are eligible to seal or expunge your records. 

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