Expunging a record can allow a person to have their criminal record cleared. When researching about how to expunge a record, you should remember that every state has different criminal laws and procedural rules. However, you should take into account basic information related to expungement such as:
- Requests: You must specifically file a request in order to expunge a record. The process is not automatically granted and the judge needs to conduct hearings to determine your eligibility for expungement.
- Conditions: You may need to satisfy conditions before being eligible for expungement. These might include paying fines, completing sentences, and following probation terms.
- Waiting Periods: In order to expunge a record, it may be necessary to wait for a specified amount of time after the conviction, such as 5-10 years.
Also, expungement of a record can be called by other names, such as “record sealing” or other terms, depending on the state.
Can All Charges and Convictions Be Expunged?
You should understand that some crimes are treated more seriously than others. This means that some convictions are easier to have expunged than others. For instance, it’s usually easier to have a simple misdemeanor conviction expunged as compared to a felony expungement.
In certain jurisdictions, some felonies can’t be expunged at all, such crimes involving sexual assault, and certain crimes involving minors.
What About Repeat Offenses?
Repeat offenses can often be expunged from a person’s record if they meet the qualifying requirements. However, it should be noted that the court will sometimes note whether a person was convicted of an offense before, even if the conviction was already expunged. The judge won’t be allowed to examine details of the expunged conviction; they are simply allowed to take note of a previous offense, so that they can determine whether a subsequent conviction is considered a repeat offense or not.
In most cases, once a conviction is expunged, it’s as if the person never committed the crime, and the person gets a “clean slate."
Do I Need a Lawyer to Expunge a Record?
Expunging a record can be very helpful, but it isn’t always available in all situations. You may need to hire a criminal defense lawyer for assistance with a criminal record, as the laws for expungement are different in each area. An attorney can help provide you with the advice and guidance needed for successfully expunging a record.