Gen X got a bad deal when it comes to criminal records. One thing I have noticed in my practice is that people born in the 70s and late 60s did not seem to get as fair of a shake when it comes to criminal records. I think there are a few things at play: the combination of record really sticking and lasting in the information era combined with the really tough on crime policies from the 80s and 90s.
When I pull a lot of 90s cases, I don’t see deals. I see really harsh mandatory sentences. I see $30,000 restitution bills. It wasn’t a terribly empathetic period. The combination of youthfulness, the permanency of criminal records, as well as the attitude in time that we really need to be tough on crime has led to people not only being significantly punished at the time but not being able to shake the punishment of their criminal record.
The good news is that most of those cases are eligible to be expunged, vacated, or sealed. Even cases that have an outstanding financial obligation, those $30,000 restitution bills, if it was before the year 2000, that is the cutoff then even the finds are forgivable. I’ve also found that prosecutors and judges are really showing a lot more kindness and empathy especially in terms of those really disproportionately severe sentences.