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xConnectNW 125 - Criminal Records

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Whitman County District Court Judge Douglas Robinson explains that often people perform illegal acts that they believe will not affect them in the future. In reality, those unlawful actions have major consequences and long-lasting effects.

Producer: Kari Watkins, Senior Producer
OnlineVersion: Tyler DeLong, Associate Producer
Posted: Tuesday, May 19, 2015 | 4:00 p.m

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We all make mistakes in our lives, but it may surprise you when what seems like a small infraction can change a person's life forever. Whitman County District Court Judge Douglas Robinson explains that often people perform illegal acts that they believe will not affect them in the future. In reality, those unlawful action have major consequences and long-lasting effects. Judge Robinson has a history of criminal defense and a history of helping those who find themselves in the judicial system.

Robinson said, "What we find is people coming back after a minor offence to try to get a charge expunged or vacated ... because it has created a problem in employment or in renting an apartment." He continued, "once into the system there's nothing you can do about it personally to eliminate that record."Judge Robinson found that with the advent of the internet, criminal records are easily accessible, especially in an era wherein records are no longer expunged at 18 years of age.

The most common criminal act that passes through the judge's office is driving a car without a valid driver's licence or with an expired licence as a result of neglecting to pay automotive tickets and fines. Additionally, about 90 percent of these cases involve alcohol or drugs in one way or another - be it through Driving Under the Influence (DUI's), or driving in possession of illicit substances, etc.

Judge Robinson said the implication of the latter are surprisingly far-reaching. For example, Robinson said, "Canada will not let you into the country if you have a DUI." He said that he has heard many stories about people being turned around at the border as a result of alcohol-related criminal charges.

Robinson considers every college campus an alcohol-rich environment and has some tips for the community. He said that alcohol is readily available, don't make the mistakes you'll regret and most importantly " you have to continue to do those things that you know are right, you have to use your common sense ... and don't get sucked into doing those things that everybody else is doing."

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