If you’ve committed a crime that has resulted in a criminal record and many years have passed since then, you may be asking the question; does a criminal record stay with you for life?

Taking into account the high crime rate in South Africa, which has only increased with job losses and businesses closing down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it makes sense to want to understand the repercussions that having a criminal record can have on a person’s life.

Many laws have been amended, and are in a constant state of flux due to the ever-changing face of the pandemic, which could easily see people ending up on the wrong side of the law and earning a criminal record, without even knowing they’ve broken the law.

The implications of having a criminal record are far more complicated than most people realize, and without knowing about how the criminal record can stand in their way of finding employment, or even traveling overseas, there is real intimidation attached to understanding these implications.

It helps to know whether a criminal record can be expunged, and if it can be, what criteria has to be met in order for it to be expunged, and how to go about it, especially if a person wants to apply for a police clearance certificate.

Does a criminal record stay with you for life?

Before we answer this question, a brief look at a few of the limitations a criminal record can place on someone’s life;

Employment stumbling blocks

Today a majority of employers ask for more than a CV before they’ll hire anyone. In fact, many have made it part of the employment process for potential candidates to provide them with police clearance certificates, and few, if any, will employ someone with a criminal record.

It doesn’t matter to the employer whether the offence was a petty one, such as shoplifting, which may have happened many years ago, the mere fact that a person has a criminal record disqualifies them for the position.

Travel & overseas employment or study limitations

If a person with a criminal record wants to apply for a visa to travel, work, study or immigrate overseas, they will have to be in possession of a valid police clearance certificate.

When they receive the police clearance certificate, it will have a second page attached, which will show that the person has a criminal record, although it won’t list the details of the offence.

This will disqualify them automatically from being able to do all of the above.

How to expunge a criminal record via Doc Assist?

It is possible to have a criminal record expunged, but only under certain circumstances and conditions, according to the Criminal Procedure Amendment Act.

Doc Assist is a South African based document procurement service, with a team of professionals who are able to guide you through a streamlined process of applying for the expungement of a criminal record, without the usual frustration that goes with this type of application.

Although this is not a quick-fix, the 5 to 6-month process is well worth the wait, once you receive a new police clearance certificate, without a criminal record!

The process starts when you provide Doc Assist with the nature of your conviction, 2 sets of fingerprints (taken in ink), 4 copies of your ID or passport, as well as a completed application form that will be sent to you by the team, which you will receive with your quotation.

Once you have completed this process and accepted the quote from Doc Assist, the team will first apply for a police clearance certificate with the criminal record, which will then be submitted for the process of expungement.

Once Doc Assist has received confirmation that your record has been expunged, they will then apply for a new police clearance certificate, without the criminal record, giving you a brand new start in life.

Find out more about expunging a criminal record in South Africa

If you’d like to find out whether or not you may apply for your criminal record to be expunged, please view the qualifications here, or contact the team at Doc Assist for further information.

You’ll find a friendly team of professionals ready to guide you through the best course of action, having taken all the frustration out of the process on your behalf!

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