Expunction, also known as expungement, is a process that some states allow through which persons convicted of certain crimes can get the records of their conviction cleared or sealed. Expunction is usually allowed in some form in most U.S. states.
How Can I Get My Criminal Record Expunged?
There is no constitutional right to have an expunction of a criminal record, so when it is allowed, people seeking to get their records expunged have to fulfill certain qualifications and follow certain conditions. As expunction is a privilege, most states only allow it if you can show that you have effectively been rehabilitated and have reentered society.
Some states will allow you to expunge your record if a certain amount of time has passed since your conviction and you have already finished serving your sentence.
In almost every state that allows expunction, what is cleared or sealed is limited. Expunction is usually not available for serious or violent crimes. Additionally, if you are required to register as a sex offender as a result of a conviction, expunction will not clear away that requirement.
What Happens if My Criminal Record Gets Expunged?
Generally, if you have gotten your conviction expunged, you can legally deny ever having been convicted of a crime in almost any situation. If you are looking for a job and the interviewer asks if you have ever been convicted of a crime, and the conviction has been expunged, you can legally say that you have never been convicted of a crime.
However, certain exceptions apply to this rule as there are certain jobs that require that you disclose any conviction even if they have been expunged (caring for children, government jobs, etc.).
Do I Need a Lawyer to Get My Criminal Record Expunged?
If you want to get your criminal record expunged, you should talk to a lawyer to see if you are eligible. A good expungement lawyer will be able to tell you the steps to take to become eligible if you are not and if you are can help you through the process of getting your record cleared or sealed.