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 What Is an Expunged Record?

An expunged record is a criminal record that has been removed or whose public access has been restricted. An erased record usually means that the individual has completed all their sentencing and probation obligations and is in good standing with the courts. This is termed “record sealing” or “purging” of the record in various jurisdictions.

What Are the Advantages of Getting a Criminal Record Expunged?

Expungement is a legal procedure that treats a person’s criminal records as though they no longer exist. Every state has distinct possibilities and limitations when it comes to expungement.

Every state has some type of record sealing or expungement for minor offenders. Although each state’s rules and conditions for expungement vary, eligibility for expungement often includes the following:

  1. Filing an application for expungement in writing with the court where the conviction occurred;
  2. Serving and finishing the original term; and/or
  3. No new or additional criminal charges against the applicant.

Typically, the burden is on the individual requesting for expungement to demonstrate that their probation or other expungement conditions have been met. Furthermore, the application for expungement is often only valid for one case, the one they request to have erased.

If the person wishes to have several records or charges expunged, they must make separate applications. The court will assess the petition and determine whether or not the individual is eligible for expungement once the applicant has completed all of the forms requesting expungement.

Each court may have its own procedures or additional procedures for expungement.

The vast majority of criminal records are open to the public and can be viewed by prospective schools, landlords, and employers.

It is crucial to remember that in many states, the erasure of minor criminal records is automatic. Because this varies, an individual should consult with a criminal law professional.

Generally, individuals who have kept a clean criminal record in the years between their conviction and their request are eligible for expungement. Individual courts may also have their own filing procedures for youth expungement.

The phrase expungement is frequently used interchangeably with terms like record sealing.

Expungement, on the other hand, differs from record sealing in a few key ways.

When a person’s criminal record is erased, it’s as if the charges and conviction never happened, and they’re no longer associated with that person’s criminal history. In general, the charges have vanished from the legal system.

Record sealing, on the other hand, implies that the charges and convictions remain. The records, however, are inaccessible since they are not open to the public.

This means that persons or parties, including employers, cannot access that individual’s information, even though they are still theoretically there in the system. In some places, a sealed conviction can be used to raise the harshness of a future sentence.

This may apply when the individual’s history as a repeat offender is relevant. This could happen even if the records are technically sealed.

Is it Possible to Access an Expunged Record?

An expunged record is typically inaccessible to the general public. For example, a person’s expunged criminal record cannot be used in a job application or when seeking housing.

However, in rare cases, a judge may still speak to the general fact of whether or not a person was convicted of a crime. They cannot normally refer to case details, although they can make a note of specific criminal charges. This is frequently done when the court is confronted with a repeat conviction and has to know how to sentence the offender.

Again, each state will have its own set of rules and regulations regarding erased records and other post-conviction procedures. The rules for felony expungement may differ from those for misdemeanors (felonies are generally more difficult to erase from the record).

Is it Possible for Me to Have a Felony Expunged?

The removal of a felony from a person’s criminal record is a challenging task. The more heinous the crime, the less probable it will be purged.

Felony convictions for offenses such as first-degree murder and child pornography are ineligible for expungement.

Some elements may improve the possibility that the court may consider an expungement request.

These factors include whether the individual was a minor at the time the crime was committed, the nature of the offense, the amount of time since the conviction or arrest and if all court-ordered requirements for the sentence have been met.

There is a distinction to be made between a felony arrest and a felony charge. A felony arrest occurs when an individual is taken into custody on suspicion of committing a felony. A felony charge indicates that official legal action has been begun against the person. A felony arrest is more likely to be expunged than a criminal charge.

A felony conviction stays on a person’s criminal record for life. Expungement is the only method to get rid of it. It is possible to have a felony conviction removed from a person’s record. Before petitioning the court for an expungement, there are normally state-specific conditions that must be completed.

When an individual’s jurisdiction criteria are met, they may petition the court for expungement. The petition is usually submitted in the court where the criminal case was heard. Other information, such as a certified copy of the individual’s criminal record, may be requested depending on the state.

Is a Sealed Record the Same as an Expunged Record?

Most jurisdictions interchangeably use the words “expunged record” and “sealed record.” The two names, however, can have slightly different connotations. With an expunged record, it’s almost as if the offender never committed the acts. They are no longer found in any of the person’s records.

On the other hand, a “sealed” record may still contain information on past claims. Some criminal records may be “temporarily sealed” or sealed for the duration of a single court case before being unsealed later. As previously said, the specifics will vary based on the case.

Record Sealing or Expungement Eligibility

Eligibility for record sealing varies by state, but the method is generally as follows:

  • In writing, request record sealing from the court where the conviction happened.
  • The original sentence has to be served.
  • The individual is not facing any new charges.

The applicant bears the burden of demonstrating that probation criteria have been met.

When filing for an expungement, the individual will frequently do so in the same court where the prosecution is taking place.

Typically, an expungement petition is only good for one instance; if they wish to delete several records, they must file separate petitions. The petition will next be reviewed by the judge, who will determine their eligibility. Individual courts may have their own expungement or record-sealing procedures. Contact a lawyer if you have questions or inquiries about your eligibility for an expunged record or any other matters regarding your record.

Do I Need a Lawyer to Restore My Expunged Record?

Obtaining a criminal record expungement is not always possible. You may want to consult an expungement lawyer if you need help expunging a record or with a past case record. An attorney can advise you on dealing with your criminal record according to state laws and rules.

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