The Expungement Center is dedicated to helping Americans everywhere understand their rights about their public records. We publish helpful information about record sealing and record expungement for states where it is available.

Having a criminal record can be a hindrance to obtaining employment, getting a good apartment, and even buying a home. After having paid the punishment for a crime, the individual should be allowed to go on with their life and be able to take the advantage of all that is available to them in society. This is not necessarily the case. The more competitive job market today allows employers to make sometimes unfair judgment calls on who they hire, and many times that means investigation into criminal past.

Attorneys and Expungement

Setting aside a criminal record can sound like a confusing process. Many individuals feel that they need to have an attorney at their side in order to successfully see the process through. Expungement lawyers can be useful, but they are not always necessary. The very nature of paying a lawyer hundreds of dollars is in fact paying for them to file the paper work on your behalf..

Many times an initial consultation an gathering of information from an attorney is sufficient to get the ball rolling without the need to hire them and pay their usually exorbitant fees. A Dallas expungement lawyer or one from any state, can help an individual with a complicated case understand the requirements for removing a record from a file as well as inform them of the paperwork necessary for the process. Luckily, many people will have a straightforward case that does not require expensive legal counsel.

Expungement lawyers in Philadelphia, for example,  will also be able to help an individual understand the process, but they also cost a good deal of money. Many times the lawyers simply file a piece or two of paperwork, make a five minute appearance and pay a small fee and it is done. So what’s the final verdict?: YOU DON’T NEED A LAWYER

The Simple Eligibility Process

Simply removing records from a criminal file does fully describe the process. There are certain factors that must be met before a person can be eligible for expungement. The individual needs to maintain a clean record for a time period. This time period can range from 12 months to 8 years depending on a number of things. The first is the state in which the crime was committed. In general, one must abide by the rules of the jurisdiction in which the crime was committed.

Another factor that can affect whether or not the record can be removed is the nature and severity of the particular crime. In general, the more violent the crime, the less likely that it can or will be approved for removal from the person’s record. This is also governed by the area in which the crime was committed. Consultation with competent expungement lawyers will give the information needed to determine whether the crime in question can be removed.

Exceptions to the Rule

Going through the removal process will keep records from appearing on the person’s record when an employer, prospective landlord, or even adoption agency inquires. Although, there are a few exceptions to the expungement rule. There are loopholes that allows certain agencies to see the full record, even the parts that have been sealed or removed. The sheer nature of these agencies and the work that they eprform are the two mitigating reasons why they would and do have access to sealed and removed items on a person’s record.

These agencies include: 

  • Government agencies
  • Law enforcement
  • Criminal Courts

Government agencies deal with many very delicate matters and if applying for a job with one of these agencies, or enlisting in service to one of these agencies, they would need a full disclosure of the individuals past to ensure the safety and integrity of the department in issue is maintained. Law enforcement is another area where knowing eactly who the police are dealing with can make or break safety factors for everyone involved. Whether applying to be a police officer, or as a person being processed through the system, it is important to assure that the proper safeguards are in place to protect everyone involved.

Criminal courts need to be able to make judgement calls concerning the character and integrity of individuals. They would be able to access expunged records in order to determine the mindset of the individual tat is on trial or accused of a crime. If the individual is having records removed in order to avoid harsher penalties for their crimes it is necessary for the courts to be able to see this pattern. Prior offenses and a lengthy record (even if expunged) can alter the punishment and sentences for future crimes of the like nature.

Expungement is a viable way to clear up minor offenses in a persons record. Some exceptions (like murder or molestation or child related crimes) do exist, but the overall nature of most crimes can allow for the removal from the record. Consulting with an attorney can offer peace of mind for the person, but is not really necessary. Thesy are expensive services and the cost of expungement does not have to break the bank.

Although the expungement and sealing process are not difficult, they can definitely be confusing. That is why we offer expungement kits that are tailored to your states laws to make the process and as easy and quick as possible for you. It all starts with our simple eligibility test.