If you have recently been convicted of a crime, you know that this type of thing will follow you around forever. But depending on the severity of your crime, or whether or not you had a previous criminal record before this recent conviction, you may be able to remove this conviction from your record. Your state laws will govern the possibility of this happening, but it may be possible for you to remove this mark forever by way of an expungement.
Overview of an Expungement
An expungement is a process that seals your arrest and your conviction records. Just about every state has laws that allow someone to expunge these arrests and convictions from their records, but the details and regulations surrounding that process varies. The bottom line is once your record is expunged, you do not need to ever disclose the event. For example, if you're applying for a job, and a question asks you if you have even been arrested and convicted of a crime, you can legally answer "no" to that question. There's no way your potential employer can gain access to any records of arrest and convictions.
Eligibility for Expungement of Records
An expungement gives you the opportunity to start over. In order to determine if you are eligible to even seek expungement, you should consult with a criminal attorney. They will be able to properly advise you on the process in your state and also help you with filing all of the necessary paperwork in order to initiate an expungement. Some information your attorney may provide you is:
- Certain offenses that are eligible for expungement. In some jurisdictions, only misdemeanor convictions may be eligible for expungments. Which means if you were convicted of a felony, you may not be able have those records sealed.
- When you become eligible for expungement. In some states, the rules regarding when you become eligible may be after you've served a sentence or probation. Also, you may have to wait a certain amount of time before you can apply for expungement.
- The process of expungement. This can all be very confusing for you, so your attorney will sit down and explain the process of applying for expungement. In most states, you simply file a motion for forms and ask the court for their permission to grant a motion to expunge your criminal records.
Consult with a criminal defense attorney — like Eric Schurman, Attorney at Law — to begin the expungement process.