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Criminal Record Expungement

Criminal Record Expungement

Criminal Record Expungement

Attorney to Seal Your Criminal Record

An Attorney May be Able to Help You Expunge Your Criminal Record or Petition for Your Record to be Sealed.

In today’s modern society, the existence of a criminal record can have a detrimental effect on a person’s ability to enter into a successful career. Sometimes it doesn’t matter whether a person was convicted or not; just being arrested can be enough to disqualify you from a job or even prevent a landlord from renting to you. With so many employers conducting background checks prior to hiring anyone, the idea of expunging an existing criminal record becomes one of great importance for many people.

Defining Expungement

What is expungement? We can briefly define it as destroying or sealing records of a person’s arrest and/or convictions from the state or Federal repository. The majority of states allow individuals to expunge certain records related to arrests and/or convictions. The details may be different in some states, but most of the laws are written so that once a person’s record is expunged, that information is removed from the state repository. This doesn’t mean that the record no longer exists within the system but rather that it is sealed in much the same way a juvenile record is once a person turns 18.

Eligibility Requirements for Expungement

An expungement (also referred to as expunction) offers an individual a type of fresh start, but unfortunately, not everyone qualifies for this. Anyone who has been arrested or convicted of a crime and is seeking to apply for expungement of those records needs to understand the law in their particular jurisdiction. The best place to start to start is by contacting a criminal defense lawyer in your area. Your attorney may be able to answer your questions, such as:

  • Is my offense eligible for expungement? Some jurisdictions only allow certain items to be expunged.
  • When is my record eligible for expungement? It’s possible that a person must serve their sentence including any probation before applying for expungement.
  • What is involved in the expungement process?
  • Who can still access an expunged record? Even though a record is expunged, there are still circumstances under which those records are available.

It’s important to note that a person can also apply for a “Certificate of Actual Innocence;” A much more powerful form of expungement. In this case, the record is not just sealed but proves there should not have been a record in the first place. This occurs frequently when charges are dropped or a person is deemed not guilty in a court of law.

Expungement vs. Non-Disclosure

While an expungement permanently removes an offense from a person’s criminal records and prevents others from learning of the offense (other than the court and those in law enforcement), an Order of Non-Disclosure only prevents a clerk of the court from disclosing information of an offense to other people such as in a background check. Unlike an expungement, offenses sealed in an order of non-disclosure remain on the person’s record, but are simply not disclosed to certain parties.

Although expungement is more beneficial to a person than an order of non-disclosure, both processes can be extremely helpful. Additionally, different rules exist that will determine what is available regarding your specific case. Because the process of expungement is very difficult and not always easy to understand (at least for a non-lawyer) it is important to discuss your options with a criminal defense attorney. We can help you find an attorney in your area. All you need to do is call 1-800-ATTORNEY.

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