HOW DOES A RECORD CLEARING WORK?
Did you know that even if you are not convicted of a crime it can still show up on background checks? An arrest is public record, which is open to any member of the public even if you were not convicted, unless you have your record expunged or sealed.
HOW DOES AN EXPUNGEMENT OR SEALING HELP?
An expungement is when the record is destroyed, which is like the crime never taking place. Sealed records are not destroyed. The criminal record is still available to law enforcement and other government agencies on a limited basis, but background check companies, employers and the general public will no longer have access to your record and it allows you to legally deny its existence in most circumstances.
WHAT IS THE BASIC PROCESS FOR EXPUNGING OR SEALING A CRIMINAL RECORD?
In order to have your record expunged or sealed you must petition the court for relief. The process starts by applying for a Certificate of Eligibility from your states Department of Law Enforcement. Once you receive your Certificate of Eligibility, you can then file your expungement or sealing petition with the court. Usually there is no formal hearing required and the court will inform you through the mail whether or not your petition has been granted. Once your petition is granted, the court will notify all government agencies who have a copy of your record to destroy and/or seal your record from public view. You may then begin notifying any private entities that they are required to remove your record from their databases.
HOW DO I KNOW IF I QUALIFY?
In order to qualify for a record sealing or expungement you must be able to answer “NO” to every question below.
- Were you convicted (adjudicated guilty) of the charge(s) you want to have sealed or expunged?IF YES, YOU WILL NOT QUALIFY.
- Have you ever been convicted (adjudicated guilty) of any criminal offense, whether misdeameanor, felony, ordinance, or criminal traffic offense (DUI, driving while license suspended, reckless driving, etc) anywhere?IF YES, YOU WILL NOT QUALIFY.
- Are you currently on probation, house arrest, community control, or some other court ordered supervision program?IF YES, YOU MUST FIRST COMPLETE IT BEFORE YOU WILL BE ALLOWED TO SEAL OR EXPUNGE THE RECORD.
- Have you ever had a record sealed or expunged before?IF YES, YOU WILL NOT QUALIFY.
- Do you have any outstanding court costs or costs of probation?IF YES, YOU MUST FIRST PAY THEM BEFORE BEING ALLOWED TO SEAL OR EXPUNGE YOUR RECORD.
- If you received a withhold of adjudication from the court, is the charge you are trying to seal related to violence, children, or serious drug trafficking?IF YES, YOU MAY NOT BE ABLE TO SEAL OR EXPUNGE THE CHARGE.
If you answered “NO” to the questions above, you will likely qualify to either seal or expunge your record. Please begin the eligibility test above to see if you qualify.