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Is Expungement Worth It?

The last thing anyone wants is to be arrested and convicted of a crime, especially one they did not commit. The conviction would result in the loss of valuable time from your life due to the judicial process and sentencing. It affects your future endeavors as landlords and employers frequently ask for your criminal record. Depending on the crime, your criminal record can make life exponentially harder. Obtaining a credible criminal lawyer is crucial in proving your innocence and keeping you out of jail if possible. An excellent lawyer may also reduce your charges to a lesser offense so that you may have the possibility of  getting the arrest expunged from your record.

What Does Expungement Mean?

Depending on the jurisdiction, expungement can have different meanings. However, the general concept is that it removes information entirely from the record. Having the conviction expunged is not theoretically based on the innocence of the defender. Expungement considers the continuous negative impact of the criminal conviction on the person’s life beyond the completion of their terms.

How to Go About Getting a Record Expunged?

Although state law is the defining factor in how a criminal record is expunged, the process typically begins when the defendant petitions the court to have their record expunged. Rather than the defendant’s entire criminal record, the expungement is one particular crime. The application for expungement is presented with the defendant’s court documents. In the petition, the defendant explains the nature of their convictions and why expungement applies to them. In some cases, the defendant might need to provide evidence of their rehabilitation. Having a reliable criminal lawyer can greatly improves your chances of expungement.

What Are the Charges That Can Be Expunged?

It is no surprise that certain crimes such as DUI, sexual offenses, or violent crimes are not applicable. In addition, the types of charges that are expungable also vary by jurisdiction. While some jurisdictions only allow minor crimes, juvenile offenses, and misdemeanors, other jurisdictions allow additional crimes if the defendant was a first-time offender. The ability of the defendant’s criminal lawyer to adequately represent the offender as someone who would never commit the offenses again would be pivotal for a successful petition.

Typically, the court would review the petition for expungement after the defendant has completed all of their sentencing, including probation. In addition, the defendant may have to establish that they will not commit any criminal activity again. Consequently, they would have to wait until a certain period has elapsed before they can petition to have the record expunged.

Who Can See Expunged Records?

If a defendant manages to get the court to grant expungement, the records cease to exist. As a result, it is removed from the database, and no one can view it. Expunged records do not show up on fingerprint scans, so if a background check is conducted, that particular record is no longer visible.

What Are the Benefits of Expungement?

  • College: having a criminal record expunged may prevent colleges from seeing this negative information and increase the chances of getting accepted into the desired college.
  • Employment: expunging a criminal record makes it easier for the offender to gain employment rather than an applicant with a visible criminal record.
  • Housing: some landlords may conduct background checks, which can hinder a person’s ability to rent a property if they have a criminal record.
  • Social Reasons: expunging a record prevents others from learning about the erased offense, offering a chance for the offender to put their past behind them and focus on their future.

The value of expunging a record lies in the fact that it is deleted from history, and cannot be recovered.

“Expungements are not available in every situation, and there are still a few limitations on what they can do to remove past criminal charges from government records,” said criminal attorney Bill Umansky “However, if you qualify to pursue either or both of these options, it is in your best interest to get it done as possible.”

Even though the opportunity does not apply to all crimes, with an excellent criminal lawyer and some good behavior, a defendant can petition to have the conviction expunged.