criminal records and handcuffs

Crime and Punishment: The Basics of a Criminal Record

There are various types of wrongdoings that will constitute a crime. So long as you are violating the law, these actions will be recorded on your criminal record. While you may not always have to serve time for your actions or only have to make up for them with community service, having a criminal record can make it difficult to apply for a job or maintain one at all. To manage future lifetime opportunities, it’s important to understand the way a criminal record works. 

What is a Criminal Record?

Regardless of the crime committed, whether it be a DUI or robbery, this will be recorded on your criminal record. When arrested, you’re first fingerprinted then photographed, then asked to provide your personal information. While these records will sometimes subject you to a term of imprisonment or conditional sentence, you may sometimes be let off with a simple warning and fine or supervision.

What Goes on a Criminal Record?

Crimes are classified into sections A, B, and C. 

Class A Crime

Sex crimes, along with murder, arson, assault, and robbery can never be sealed.

Class B Crime

Burglary, sale of drugs, and possession of stolen property records can be sealed only after 10 years and if you do not commit another crime during that span of time. 

Class C Crime

Forgery, illegal possession of a firearm, and vehicle theft records are sealable after 5 years and if you do not commit another crime during that span of time. 

Where is a Criminal Record Stored?

Criminal records are stored in county databases and sometimes transferred to state archives for security purposes. Besides criminal records, the state also stores information on government employees, bills, acts, reports, and other proceedings. Most states will have online databases that host public records and dedicate pages to criminal records and sex offenders. 

While not all records will be made available to the public, those that are will be published to help ensure the safety and well-being of an entire community. Some of these databases will allow users to search for criminal records, misdemeanors, and felonies committed by a specific person for a small fee. 

How Does a Criminal Record Affect Someone?

The most obvious way a criminal record can affect an individual is their ability to secure a job. During the process of employment, it’s usually mandatory for a potential hire to undergo a background check. During this check, an employer can learn about a candidate’s criminal record and be at liberty to discover the specific crimes an applicant has committed. It is then up to an employer’s discretion as to whether they can safely hire the candidate or not. 


A criminal record can be incredibly detrimental to one’s future opportunities and employment. Understanding how they work and what your rights are can help you navigate through the consequences of being charged with a crime. 

At the Fernandez Firm, we provide you with a free case evaluation assign you an attorney that you can contact during any time of the day. We are passionate about protecting our clients and their opportunities for employment by dedicating the time to managing their cases.