Expunging A Criminal Record: What You Need To Know

Posted on: 31 January 2019

If you have a criminal conviction on your record, you may have experienced first-hand what an impact this can have on your life. For employers who run background checks, for instance, you may have a harder time finding a job. One option you may want to look into is that of having your criminal record expunged, which essentially allows your criminal conviction to be sealed off from public record. This can make it easier to secure employment or even get approved to lease an apartment.

Before you get started with applying for expungement, there are some things you need to know.

It's Not For Every Crime

For starters, understand that not every crime/conviction will be eligible for expungement. Generally, this option is only available for certain misdemeanors, and if you have multiple convictions, your request may be denied. First-time offenders for less serious crimes tend to have the most success with getting their records expunged.

State Laws Can Vary

Expungement laws and regulations are set forth by the individual states, so you'll want to become familiar with your state laws before you get started. Keep in mind that you'll need to file for expungement in the state where the conviction occurred--even if you no longer live there. In some cases, you may be able to submit a paper application, but many states will require you to appear in court.

Some Agencies May Still Have Access

Having a criminal record expunged means that your conviction(s) will no longer be visible to those who run a traditional background check on you. Keep in mind, however, that certain agencies will still have access to your conviction record, including Federal agencies. This means if you apply to become a police officer, for example, your criminal record will still be discovered.

A Criminal Attorney Can Help

If you're thinking about applying to have a criminal conviction expunged, your best course of action is to work with a criminal attorney. He or she will be able to help you through the process, and in some cases, may even be able to make court appearances on your behalf.

Having your criminal record expunged can improve your life in a number of ways. However, the laws and processes can vary from one state to the next, which is why it's always a good idea to consult with a criminal attorney before you move forward with an expungement application.