Did you know that having a criminal record can affect your life negatively in so many ways? For instance, if you have been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor, it may prevent you from getting a good job, renting an apartment, being bonded, getting admission to a college of your choice, and even possessing a firearm?
Fortunately, you don’t have to live with the consequences of your past mistakes forever. If you are in a situation where a criminal background check is required, and you are worried about what may show up, then expungement might be a good option for you since it seals your criminal record.
In this article, we discuss the basics of expungement law and what you need to do to “clean up” your criminal record. Read on to find out everything you need to know.
What Is Expungement?
Expungement, also referred to as expunction, refers to a court-ordered process in which a legal record associated with an arrest or conviction is “erased” from the official records. In reality, the records are not actually “erased” per see, but instead, they are “sealed” or “done away with in the eyes of the law. “
In simple words, it means that your arrest or criminal conviction is no longer on your criminal record for certain background checks. In fact, once you have received your expungement, you are no longer obligated to disclose that specific arrest or conviction to any other person or entity.
Seeking expungement is especially crucial if you are looking for a job, rental apartment, college admission, good credit rating, and so on. If you succeed with your expungement, the arrest or conviction will be as good as gone for such purposes.
What Cases Qualify for Expungement?
Expungement law varies from state to state, but in most states, cases that qualify for expungement include misdemeanors, felonies that resulted in probation or jail time, and infractions as long as they are not vehicle infractions. If you are on probation, it is always good to petition the court to terminate your probation early so you can seek expungement.
However, some cases such as alcohol-related offenses, sex offenses, some felonies, and other serious violations of law do not qualify for expungement in most states. You should also keep in mind that a successful expungement doesn’t affect your records at the Department of Motor Vehicles. Therefore, you cannot expunge a DUI/DWI from your criminal record.
Are the Records Completely Gone?
As mentioned earlier, when your criminal record gets expunged, it only means that it is “sealed.” This means the arrest or conviction is not completely gone. In other words, the criminal record is still accessible by certain government bodies such as courts and law enforcement agencies.
In some cases, expunged records can still be used as proof of prior conviction. In a real sense, even though the arrest or conviction has been removed from your criminal record, there are instances when it can reappear.
Is Everyone Eligible for Expungement?
The simple answer is no. Whether you get an arrest or conviction expunged from your criminal depends on a wide range of factors. They include the nature of the crime/charge, your criminal history, the jurisdiction of the original arrest/conviction, and the amount of time that has passed since the arrest/conviction.
Some states in the country, such as New York, don’t allow for the expungement of criminal arrests/convictions at all.
How Do You Get Started with Expungement?
Expungement can be a tedious and stressful process that requires you to work with an experienced person to guide you through the process. Keep in mind that you still need to convince the court why you think the arrest/conviction needs to be erased from your criminal record.
Therefore, hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney to argue on your behalf can help you achieve a better outcome. An attorney will find a way of convincing the judge that you have lived past the incident, and you have always behaved in a good manner since then.
Legal Giant Can Help You
If you or your loved have an arrest or conviction record that you want to be expunged from your criminal record, talk to us today and let us help you with the process.
At Legal Giant, we have a team of experienced criminal defense attorneys with decades of experience in helping clients obtain criminal record expungements. Contact us today and let us guide you through the expungement process.