For the most part, having a criminal record cannot stop you from opening a business in the United States. That is, anyone can register for an LLC and become their own boss. However, what can be an issue is if someone has a criminal record in a field or industry that requires licensing. If you are considering opening a business but have a criminal record, read on.
Consider your charges before opening
While having been found guilty in a personal injury case won’t likely mean you can’t open a business selling clothing online, it might be an issue if you were to open a business that required a driver’s license. That is, if you did time on a negligent manslaughter charge for reckless driving, you might not have a license and would not be able to conduct business that required you to drive. However, you could still hire someone else to do the driving.
Maybe your record has a robbery charge or you were busted for workers compensation fraud. While it would be difficult for you to maintain credibility in financial investing, you could certainly open a business in publishing or marketing but might need advice.
Say you live in Chicago, for example. A workers compensation attorney in Illinois may be the right resource for you as you go about rebuilding your life. Maybe you were suspended from the bar after a felony DUI. This doesn’t mean you couldn’t open an affiliate marketing company but clearly couldn’t open your own private law firm.
Basically, while it’d be unlikely for the state to prevent you from opening an LLC, your ability to perform business activities could be limited by a lack of license or ability to practice depending on your charges. In this way, it’s a good idea to think ahead of time about the kind of business you hope to open while keeping your record in mind.
Specific Cases and Situations
In some specific situations, parole conditions or court orders will exclude you from opening certain types of business. Knowing what you are and aren’t allowed to do before attempting to open a business is the best way to go.
For example, if you’re now a registered sex offender and have requirements about interacting with kids or where you live, you’ll want to be sure it’s okay for you to conduct business activities like selling disposable gloves, for example, to places like daycares and schools. This could get complicated and you’ll want to know ahead before investing in a new business.
Do your research ahead and be sure to ask about any kind of notification or paperwork required for the state. Detailed information and orders may be attached to your dockets but it’s still smart to know your legal rights and limitations ahead.
Public Information Concerns
Crimes and case numbers are public record. If you have been convicted, it’s important to remember that people can easily look up your information, obtain electronic records, and even get a copy of the documents from your court cases.
For this reason, you’ll want to think about what possible exposure owning a business will mean. If you’re okay with your case information being found out by clients and customers, that’s one thing. If not and you prefer your privacy, opening a business might not be the best plan. Whatever you decide, there is no wrong answer but be sure to understand that anyone can check public records to find court rulings so you’ll want a plan for how to protect your business.
In the end, no matter what your record or lawsuits filed against you, you still have many options for opening your own business in spite of any criminal case attached to you. Whether opening a business by yourself or with a family member, as long as you do your research ahead and know your limitations, you can open your new business with confidence.