The importance of getting crimes expunged from record is only known when you are applying for a job somewhere and your old records spoil and mar your future prospects. Most of the time, we tend to ignore and forget our old records or may not keep a record of our previous acts. Only when we get turned down by a prospective client/customer, do we realize that we do need to clear our records.
The first step to expunging your record is to apply for an eligibility certificate. In other words, a document issued by the state’s law enforcement agency stating you are fit to get your criminal records erased or sealed forever from the public domain. There is a list of Do’s and Don’ts to apply for this document too. So, it is not so easy to obtain this certificate.
Each state and county issues such eligibility certificates or documents (under various names), to help citizens get their older crimes expunged from record. Considering that almost every other citizen has some sort of criminal record, starting from minor crimes like shoplifting or even earning a ticket for wrong parking, to major crimes like assault, larceny, battery, it is vital to have these certificates for expunging your record.
There are benefits related to every certificate used for expungement of criminal records. This certificate can be a ticket to freedom and be the proof of your innocence when you testify at the court to get your records removed. Though, these certificates may not exactly expunge your records, but they may expedite the process of erasing or removing old criminal records.
In most states, you may not be able to apply for expungement because the local governance may want this document certifying that you are eligible to have a clean slate. But there is always one common factor used by judiciary in all states: the courts take up to a month to decide whether you are eligible for receiving this certificate or not. This certificate is a determining factor when the court decides if your petition to get your crimes expunged from record should be considered or not.
As you know, the advantages of an expunged record are many. The criteria that leave you ineligible to apply for the eligibility certificate differ from one state to another. For instance, the law enforcement department in Florida will not issue you an eligibility certificate based on the following criteria:
- If you have a record of crimes committed in the past, for example, the violent ones, you cannot apply for this certificate. This includes possessing drugs and committing other serious offences that come under felony.
- If you have been a repeated sex offender, and the crimes that you want to get expunged from record is connected with your application for the eligibility certificate, then the state law enforcement department have a right to reject your expungement request.
- Another point where you can get disqualified for the certificate is when you have not paid your fines connected with your old convictions. Remember that the law enforcement department has your records right under their nose.
- You may have had a criminal record expunged or cleared in the past.
- If you had applied for an expungement earlier and you have not received court orders yet, for the expungement of the same, you cannot get an eligibility certificate for the current case.
- If the charges related to the current case have not been dismissed or set aside before your trial, then also there are chances that you will not receive this certificate.
- Even if you have received the state’s pardon issued by the Governor, it may still render you ineligible to receive the certificate. But, it is subject to the seriousness of the crime. It is advisable to verify with the local law enforcement body or an attorney.
In Utah, the criteria that could make you unfit to receive the certificate could differ a little. There is also a fee involved to apply and receive the certificate from the state’s own law enforcement agency. Some of them are:
- If you have committed more than two felonies, charged and convicted for the same.
- If you have been convicted and charged with misdemeanors.
Various law enforcement bodies at the state and federal level use this document to do background checks on the data you have submitted. For instance, if you have submitted personal details like place of birth, school and college where you studied, your neighbor’s reference and phone number, the federal and state law bodies will go to your neighborhood to do discreet checks. If they find this data wrong, then you might not only be denied the eligibility certificate but also your rights to expunge records.
So, do not waste time anymore thinking whether or not you can get your crimes and previous convictions expunged from record. Visit your county court to check your records and apply for an eligibility certificate.