For someone living with a criminal record against their name, it becomes very difficult to walk away from the stained identity and make a fresh start. A criminal record makes it nearly impossible for individuals pursuing employment to get good job opportunities or to be granted loans. The stigma of the criminal record will follow them even after many years. Are you someone who has a criminal record against your name? Are you being followed around for a charge where you were found not-guilty or were dismissed? Then, you probably are looking for ways in which you can find recourse and get back the control over your life. This is when you should understand the meaning and importance of expunging your criminal records. Are you wondering,” How to expunge your criminal record?” Here are the most frequently asked questions on expungement.
What is expungement?
In simple terms, the expungement process requires requesting the court to seal your criminal record so that it is no longer accessible by the public. If your criminal record is expunged by the court, you can safely and legally deny the existence of the record and your conviction as well. Therefore, expunged arrests are not visible to your employer, landlord, college officials or others. But it may still be accessible by certain law enforcement agencies.
Expungement doesn’t cover your entire criminal history; it only seals individual charges and arrests. So, it is important to seek expungement for each arrest separately.
Expungement rules vary from state to state. In order to know more about how to expunge your criminal record it is important to understand the nuances of the expungement laws pertaining to your state before petitioning for criminal record expungement.
What are the criteria to expunge criminal records?
Although expungement laws differ from state to state, there are certain basic rules that work across the board. Moreover, there is no guarantee that you will get your criminal record expunged. You will have to get the paperwork processed properly, convince the judge, and prove that:
- You have been denied employment opportunities, housing, loans, college grants and other government benefits because of the criminal record
- The sealing of your record will not hamper public safety.
- The benefits you gain from expungement are more than what the public might lose if they don’t have access to your records
- You are responsible and have rehabilitated yourself.
Before you learn more about how to expunge your criminal record, you should learn about the eligibility criteria for expungement:
- Petty crimes such as simple traffic violations and disorderly conduct
- Cases where you have been found ‘not-guilty’, acquitted or released without any charges being held against you.
- A minimum amount of time has passed between the arrest or conviction and petition for expungement
- You have satisfactorily completed the probation period and have paid the fines due.
- You do not have any more arrests or convictions in the intervening period
- The severity of the nature of crime might be the reason for denial of expungement.
How to expunge a criminal record?
The process of expungement also varies from state to state, but it mostly is a multi-step process involving a lot of paperwork. While it is difficult to state exactly the amount of time the complete process of expungement may involve, it is safe to assume that submitting complete paperwork will expedite the process.
First, you should make sure that you are eligible for expungement before proceeding to petition the judge. You need to then submit completed application forms to the concerned law agencies for perusal. Concerned authorities will then determine if the charge against you is eligible for expungement. You might have to appear in court when requested by the concerned judge. If the judge grants expungement of your records, then all official records pertaining to your case will be sealed. This will make sure that the criminal record is not visible to the public.
What are the advantages of record expungement?
While most people find peace of mind and closure as the prime motives behind seeking expungement, there are other important benefits as well. A clean criminal record makes it easier for you to find employment opportunities, seek housing, and obtain loans and grants.
This is the basic information about, “How to expunge criminal records”. Needless to say, you might have understood the importance of getting correct and timely information about the expungement rules pertaining to your state. This is where we come in; we provide specific instructions on filling expungement forms, laws governing expungement, and provide you with the best possible assistance to make the process of expungement easier.