The Expungement of Criminal Records
Criminal records are the files government officials keep on offenders to keep track of what crimes individuals have been arrested for and convicted of and also how they were sentenced.
Unfortunately for convicted offenders, criminal records can follow them around their whole lives and make starting over after an arrest even more challenging; criminal records can potentially adversely affect a person’s employment, housing, and government assistance possibilities. Moreover, felons can be prohibited from owning firearms, voting, and holding certain licenses.
Accordingly, one possible avenue for convicted offenders to help get their lives back on the right track is to pursue is the expungement of criminal records.
What types of crimes may be expunged from criminal records?
Not all crimes are eligible for expungement, and states have varying rules regarding the process; generally crimes that are violent and/or serious will not be eligible for expungement. Moreover, it is not uncommon for states to permit expungement only for misdemeanors, and only for first-time offenders.
What is the process for the expungement of criminal records?
In order to request the expungement of a crime or arrest from your criminal record, you must file a petition with the court. A judge will review your petition to determine whether your request meets the requirements of expungement in that state. If the judge grants your petition, the conviction or arrest will be wiped off your record and will not show up in criminal records searches; note, though, that your record is still accessible to police officers and some government officials.
When should I file my expungement request?
As there is often a strict time frame between conviction and the expungement request, if you are interested in learning more about the expungement of criminal records in your situation, you should speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney in your area as soon as possible. You may also want to discuss the concepts of sealing your record or setting aside the conviction, which may also be possible in your state.