Most people would like to pretend that they were never arrested and never accused of criminal activity. They hope that if they pretend it never happened, that no one will ever learn about the incident. The understandable desire to put an arrest behind them is why few people ever stop to consider whether or not they should ask for a copy of their arrest record.
By failing to obtain a copy of your arrest record, it’s possible you’re doing yourself an injustice. Not having easy access to your arrest record could damage your future.
There are several reasons you should at least have access to your arrest record.
You’re Applying for a Visa or Passport
Whenever you apply for a visa or passport, there will be a background check. If you have a criminal history or even a history of being arrested, red flags could be raised. If you’re unable to show that all of you legal issues have been resolved, it’s likely your application will be rejected.
The ability to submit your arrest record when you apply for the passport or visa means that the individual who is handling the application has instant and easy access to names, dates and case numbers that allow them to quickly verify that you’re legal troubles have been resolved and that you’re a good candidate for a passport.
When You’re Going Into a Job Interview
Employers want to know what your history is like prior to officially hiring you. Having your criminal record handy and ready for them to look at is the best approach. Being open and upfront about your criminal history not only prevents a potential employer from being surprised when they run a background check, but it also provides you with an opportunity to present your side of the story.
Making Sure There Aren’t Any Mistakes
The biggest reason you should make sure you look at your criminal record is making sure it doesn’t contain any mistakes that could potentially harm your future. Not only do you want to make sure that all the charges and convictions on the record are actually yours, you also want to make sure that things like pardons, expungements, dropped charges, etc. are accurate.