Expungement may be available for persons who have a criminal record. This is where a criminal charge is erased from the person’s record. When a criminal charge is expunged from one’s record, the usual result is that it’s as if the person never committed the crime. Thus, employers and other persons will not be able to tell whether the person committed a crime in the past or not.
Obtaining an expungement usually requires that several years have passed since the person’s last conviction (anywhere from 5-10 years depending on the state). Also, the person must have completed all sentences and related programs.
Can Federal Offenses be Expunged?
Generally speaking, no. Federal offenses cannot be expunged or deleted from one’s criminal file. The closest thing to federal offense expungement is a pardon, which must be granted by the President of the United States. Accordingly, pardons are very rare and are often reserved for very serious, high level crime. Otherwise, a federal offense will stay on the person’s record permanently.
Some examples of federal offenses include certain types of felony drug charges and federal marijuana charges. Kidnapping and other seriously violent crimes are often filed as federal offenses as well.
On the other hand, state offenses can usually be expunged from a person’s record. This includes both misdemeanors as well as felony charges, although felony charges may be more difficult to have expunged.
Do I Need a Lawyer for Help with an Expungement?
Obtaining an expungement can sometimes be difficult, and it is not an automatic process. You may wish to hire a expungement lawyer if you need help getting charges expunged from your record. Your attorney will be able to guide you through the process, and can represent you in court if you need to make an appearance.