Challenges Of Starting A Business With A Criminal Record

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Challenges Of Starting A Business With A Criminal Record

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Being charged with a criminal offense can be frustrating, especially if you’ve been wrongfully accused of a crime you didn’t commit. Even if a court of law has dismissed or terminated charges against you, the trauma of an arrest and a criminal record can be difficult to bear. 

Aside from the emotional and mental consequences, a criminal record can change your life forever in several ways. For instance, if you have a criminal record and are considering starting a business, naturally, you might have some concerns that your past might affect your opportunity to start a new business venture.

Besides, there are certain criminal offenses that will stay on your record for a specific period of time. For example, if you’ve been charged with a misdemeanor, or a crime less serious than a felony, it can remain in your criminal history between 30 days and 3 years from the date of the commission. In short, a misdemeanor offense stay on your record, making starting a business more challenging.

While it’s true that there are challenges for people who have been charged or convicted, there’s no reason why you can’t start and run a successful business. However, you need to be aware of the difficulties you could face, so let’s explore potential challenges in more detail.

Getting a Licence

In the United Kingdom, the United States, and most other countries, there’s no law to prevent people with criminal records from starting a business.

You can legally form any type of business, such as a sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, or limited liability company. However, you could be prevented from running certain types of businesses due to the need for a licence.

You could require a licence for running a law, medicine, or firearms business, for instance, and you probably won’t qualify for a licence as someone with a criminal record. And in the U.S., a surety bond is required for professions like an auto dealer, plumber, mortgage provider, and contractor.

If you’re considering starting a business that requires any kind of licensing, it’s important you find out whether you’re entitled to a licence as someone with a criminal record.

Back when you were charged with your crime, you surely sought legal advice from experienced criminal defense lawyers, like the team at the law office of Jonathan Marshall. Well, if you’re intending to start a business that requires a licence, you should seek advice from an attorney once again. Given their experience and expertise, they can advise you on the best course of action if you’re planning to obtain a business license or other permits even if you have a criminal record. 

Finding a Partner or Investor

Once you’ve found the right type of business to start, you may need to find a partner or an investor. You’ll need to be honest with anyone you work with if you want your business to be successful, but at the same time, it can be challenging to find a partner or investor with an open mind who is willing to work with someone with a criminal record.

While you should be ready for this challenge, with the right search, there’s no reason why you can’t find someone who is willing to back you.

Travelling Internationally

If you’re considering starting a business that involves international travel, you may want to reconsider. That’s not to say you can’t start such a business, but with a criminal record, you could run into problems with getting visas and other complications.

Managing Your Online Reputation

Public relations can potentially make or break a business. In today’s online world, it’s much easier for people to find and publish records. So, news of your past could spread quickly and potentially damage your reputation.

However, you can easily solve the issue by getting on top of managing your online presence. By saturating the internet with positive material, or even neutral material, about you and your business, you can soon turn around bad public relations.

You could even consider posting a video or a tweet in which you tell your public how you have grown and changed, and how everyone deserves a second chance. But mostly focus on the positive assets of your business. And at the end of the day, as they say, any publicity is good publicity.

Challenges for People with Records of Criminal Sexual Conduct

Lastly, people who have records of criminal sexual conduct face more challenges. In addition to the above challenges being even more difficult to overcome, you may need to locate your business premises a certain distance away from specific establishments, like schools, and register and disclose your location on a publicly-available sex offenders list.


Indeed, a criminal record can adversely affect your life in many ways, including setting up a business. However, by keeping the information in this blog post, you’ll be aware of the possible challenges you will face when building a business with a criminal record.

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Challenges Of Starting A Business With A Criminal Record

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