If you have a criminal record, you may want to give yourself the holiday gift of expungement. Having your record expunged doesn’t mean your convictions or arrests vanish, but it does mean that your record is sealed. You can have your record expunged in every state, though the requirements and the process may be a little different in each one. Once you have expunged your record, you no longer have to disclose those arrests or convictions to landlords, employers, or anyone else. A background check will not reveal any expunged records.
Can Your Charges Be Expunged?
The first step to expunging your record is to do some research into your local and state laws. Some jurisdictions may only allow you to expunge misdemeanors and other low-level crimes. You may not be able to expunge a felony or certain crimes.
If your charges can be expunged, you next need to look at whether or not you are personally eligible. Some jurisdictions only allow a record to be expunged once you have completed your sentence. Some require you to also complete your probation.
File a Motion for Expungement
If your charges are eligible for expungement and you meet all of the qualifications required, you next need to file a motion for expungement. This paperwork is fairly straightforward, but you do need to make certain it is completed correctly and filed with the correct court. If there are any errors made, you may not get the chance to re-file until after the holidays. The exact paperwork and process varies from location to location.
Who Can See Expunged Records?
Once your record has been expunged, it will only be visible to certain people. Law enforcement and the courts, for example, will still have full access to your record. Certain licensing boards, especially those for professions that have access to controlled substances or will require the use of firearms as part of their job, will also have access to this information. Despite these limitations, though, expunging your criminal record is worth it, especially since it can be the one thing holding you back from getting a job. Expunging your record gives you the gift of a blank slate and allows you to start the new year off on the right foot.