Expunging Criminal Records
Expunging criminal records is a process where the court orders a criminal conviction or arrest as sealed. This means that as far as the law is concerned, that arrest or conviction has been erased and not on the person’s criminal record.
There are many circumstances that affect the expunging of the criminal records and depending on the state where the conviction or arrest happened; it may not be possible at all.
What Is the Legal Effect of Expunging Criminal Records
When expunging criminal records, the court is ordering that the criminal conviction or arrest is taken off the person’s record. The person no longer has to disclose their criminal record at any report and it will not show up on a background search.
Is the Expunged Criminal Record Completely Gone?
No, it is not literally gone. It is sealed so that only certain government or law enforcement agencies can access it. Sealing criminal records is a more accurate term than expunging criminal records. Depending on the circumstances of the expunged record, it might still be used in proceedings as proof of prior convictions. Expunging criminal records will not stop them from being used in many deportation or immigration proceedings, for example.
Am I Eligible For Expungement?
When the court considers expunging your criminal records, they will consider eligibility based on a number of factors:
- The nature of the charge or crime
- The jurisdiction where you were charged
- The amount of time that has passed since the charge
Every state has different considerations, and some do not allow expunging criminal records under any circumstances.
What Is the Difference Between Expunging Criminal Records and Having Them Sealed?
While both terms are similar, in some jurisdictions, they can mean different things.
In some states, expunging criminal records mean they are completely gone. This may happen if somebody is wrongfully convicted or arrested. Sealing criminal records in some states mean that they are not available to the public through background checks or hiring private investigators. A sealed criminal record might still be available to law enforcement and government agencies. They may even be considered when sentencing for future crimes. Check the definition of your state as in some expunging criminal records, and having criminal records sealed may be used interchangeably.