How To Get Criminal Record Expungement

How To Get Criminal Record Expungement

April 16, 2018 Off By Glespynorson

When you have some sort of criminal record history, it can really have a huge impact on your life, sometimes making it impossible to start a job or find a place to live. And it’s only natural for people to want to be able to trust the person they hire or let in their house.

If you succeed in expunging your criminal record, however, this would allow you to say that you have a clean history and tremendously change your situation for the better, enabling you to get a fresh start.

Even though the expungement process varies from state to state, there are a few common steps to follow in the general case.

What  Will Expungement Do For You?

Expungement will result in changing or sometimes even removing some or all of your past criminal history from the public eye. It means that you will no longer have to say that you have previously been convicted when you apply for a job or housing.

If you are in Michigan, for example, expungement will mean that checks will return no criminal record results on you. (Find information on expungement of criminal records for Michigan.) For other states, such as California, however, the record will not disappear, but simply show up as dissmissed in court. Some records, such as sexual offences, cannot be erased, however. This is understandable and loical, for several reasons.

Seek Pardon

Expungement is not the only option. If you are granted pardon, you might get back some rights that were taken from you upon conviction, such as the right to carry arms, for example.

Even though a pardon will restore some rights, it does not hide away the fact that you have a criminal history from the public eye. It also means you are not allowed to answer negatively when you are asked about past convictions at job interviews or other sorts of applications. This might be one of the reasons why the practice is becoming increasingly rare.

Are You Innocent?

If you were innocent in the first place, you might go for a Certificate of Innocence, which aims at proving you should have never been convicted. Requirements as to how to proceed will vary again from state to state, but if you were acquitted by a jury, arrested without subsequent charges, or the court dismissed your case, you can pretty much be sure of your eligibility for the certificate.

If you would like to apply but your records have already been expunged, this automatically removes any chances of getting the  Certificate of Innocence.

How About Sealing?

Sealing is not the same as expungement. It does not erase your history but locks it away from open access, so this will limit the number of people who can obtain information about you. The good news is that now you can state your criminal record is clear.

In order to attempt to get your record sealed, you need to petition the court and then a judge would usually make a decision at a hearing. You significantly increase your chances of succeeding if you hire an attorney to work on preparing your application.

Are You Eligible?

Last but not least, find out if you are eligible for expungement in the first place, beause not everybody can take advantage of this option. If you have doubts whether expungement is applicable in your case, check out this article. It might help you figure it out. But, if you are a first-time offender, have already served an effective sentence, or there is considerabe time elapsed without committing more offences, you stand pretty good chances of being expunged.

Same goes for drug offences, juvenile delinquency, or minor misdemeanor, followed by an arrest without further court proceedings.

Take Action!

Research your options, take a pick and take action. Consider hiring an attorney who will help you get paperwork in order and work towards your best interest both in and outside of court. The better you prepare, the higher the odds are to successfully get your past criminal history expunged or sealed.