Over seven years ago, I was homeless for a period of time. During this time, i was arrested twice and convicted twice for theft under $500 dollars. In both instances I only stole food to feed myself (although I don't believe it matters, as I imagine it isn't reflected on the record). Since then, I have not been arrested or received any convictions(outside of traffic infractions). I recently started school about a year and half ago, and I have become more concerned recently about these criminal records hanging over my head. Recently, legislation was passed in Alabama(the state in which these crimes were committed), that allows records to be expunged(if approved). Now I am first and foremost interested in pursuing a career in physics(academia,observatory,working on particle accelerators,etc). However, these careers are(from what I have read) competitive and are difficult to get into. So I have considered careers in related subjects that may also be difficult to get into but broaden my job choices(engineering jobs mostly). Also, I've considered careers that don't particular interest me, but pay the bills and are math-related(finance, IT work, etc). Now all that being said, here are some questions I have. If I get my two petty theft records expunged, will they still provide a significant obstacle to employment in these fields? If I work in a sector of math/physics/engineering that involves any government clearance, expunged records will be viewed anyways, but will this automatically disbar me from working in these areas? In addition, is this a significant bar to licensure as an engineer? Also, would these records prevent from working in non-governmental areas such as academia? Lastly, if I chose a career in finance/IT work, would this prevent me from working in those fields(I could see how a theft record would be considered in an extremely negative light in the financial sector). Also, be as brutally honest as possible and please do not sugar coat it. Thanks for any answers.