How to Clear Your Criminal Record with an Expungement, why it matters, and how to get one. We will also answer some frequently asked questions about expungements. Have you ever been convicted of a crime? If so, it can be difficult to move on from that experience. Even after serving your time and paying your debt to society, the stigma of having a criminal record can follow you for years or even decades. Fortunately, there is a way to clear your name and start fresh – expungement. How to Clear Your Criminal Record with an Expungement, why it matters, and how to get one. We will also answer some frequently asked questions about expungements.
What Is Expungement and Why It Matters
Expungement is the process of sealing or destroying court records related to a particular case. This means that anyone who tries to access those records in the future would not be able to see them. For people who have been convicted of crimes, expungement offers a chance at redemption by giving them a clean slate. With an expunged record, they are no longer obligated to disclose their past offense when applying for jobs, housing, or other opportunities.
The Process of Getting an Expungement
Getting an expungement requires following specific steps laid out by law. The first step is determining whether you are eligible for expungement. Generally speaking, most misdemeanors and non-violent felonies are eligible for expungement. However, certain types of cases such as sex crimes, violent crimes, and DUIs may not qualify. Once you determine that you are eligible, you must file a petition with the appropriate court requesting expungement. You will need to provide supporting documentation such as police reports, court transcripts, and proof of completion of any sentencing requirements like probation or community service. After filing the petition, you will receive a hearing date where you will appear before a judge to make your case for expungement. Finally, if the judge grants your petition, he or she will sign an order directing the destruction or sealing of all relevant court records.
When Can You Get an Expungement
The timing of getting an expungement depends on several factors including the type of case, the severity of the offense, and the outcome of the case. In general, you cannot apply for expungement until after you have completed all aspects of your sentence including payment of fines, restitution, and probation. Additionally, you must wait a set amount of time before being eligible for expungement. For example, in California, you must wait three years after completing probation before seeking expungement for a misdemeanor and seven years for a felony.
Hiring a Lawyer for Your Expungement Case
While it is possible to represent yourself in an expungement case, hiring a lawyer can increase your chances of success. An experienced attorney can help you navigate the complex legal system and ensure that you meet all necessary requirements for expungement. They can also advocate on your behalf during the hearing and address any objections raised by the prosecution.
FAQs About Expungements
1. What happens if my expungement is denied?
If your expungement is denied, you can appeal the decision within a specified period. Alternatively, you can try again later once you have met additional criteria or waited longer since the conclusion of your case.
2. How much does an expungement cost?
The cost of obtaining an expungement varies depending on the state and county in which you live. Some states offer free or low-cost expungement services while others charge fees ranging from $50-$3000.
3. Will I still show up on background checks after getting an expungement?
It depends on the type of background check conducted. Private employers typically only conduct basic background checks that do not reveal expunged information. Government agencies and licensing boards, however, may perform more thorough searches that uncover expunged records.