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Study shows criminal records are far more dangerous than you think

If you've been charged with DWI, marijuana possession or another crime, the odds are that your primary concern is staying out of jail. Your secondary concern is probably avoiding sky-high fines and court costs.

While these are certainly serious concerns, don't underestimate the danger of simply having a criminal record. Even if you aren't found guilty, merely coming in contact with the criminal justice system can end up haunting you for years to come.

According to the Journalist's Resource organization, having any type of criminal record - whether extensive or very minor - can significantly affect your job opportunities, housing options, educational opportunities, reputation and so much more.

Surprisingly, A Terrible Criminal Record And A Not-So-Bad One Create Similar Problems

A recent study looked at 53 men and women with criminal histories. Some of those individuals had numerous arrests on their records and others had only very minor blemishes. All told, 89 percent of the study participants reported facing significant and ongoing problems due to their criminal records.

What's surprising is that both types of individuals - those with extensive criminal histories and those with only minor blots on their records - experienced the same types of missed opportunities. They couldn't get hired for certain jobs, they couldn't rent certain apartments or get mortgages on homes, they couldn't get financial aid for college and more.

Is There A Solution On The Horizon?

Because millions of Americans have criminal records of one sort or another, the National Employment Law Project is actively pushing to change hiring policies across the country. Their goal is to make it easier for people with criminal histories to get jobs.

A campaign called "Ban the Box" is also advocating to change job applications in the future so that people won't have to check a box indicating if they've ever been convicted of a crime.

At the moment, however, the fact remains that a criminal record is likely to be a huge obstacle to achieving your goals. For this reason, it's critical to work with a skilled criminal defense lawyer, even if you've only been charged with a seemingly minor offense such as drunk driving. A Texas attorney can work to help minimize the consequences you face, plus explain your options for sealing or expunging your record.

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