Posted on: 28 June 2021
It's safe to say that nearly everyone has regrets. If you have been arrested, you probably want to forget it ever happened. Unfortunately, criminal matters can live on in the form of a permanent record. Read on to find out what can be done to hide or remove that record and how to go about it.
What is Record Expungement?
If you were unfortunate enough to not only be arrested but to also be convicted of a crime, you might be out of luck when it comes to removing all traces of the incident. Expungement is meant to address incidents in which the charges were dropped or a suspect was found innocent at a trial. Not all crimes end up with a conviction. Because of jail and prison overcrowding, many defendants are offered plea deals or use other ways to avoid a conviction. For example, if you have a good criminal defense attorney, you might find out that your charges can be dropped if you offer to pay a fine or court costs. Even when charges are dropped, however, signs that you have been arrested might remain.
What Expungement Won't Hide
If you can get your record expunged, it might still be visible in certain situations like the ones noted below:
Everything about the case is visible to law enforcement and justice officials forever. That fact could come into greater focus if the defendant is arrested again. Some crimes become automatic felonies for second or greater offenses – even if the suspect was never convicted the first time.
Certain levels of background checks, such as those required by the government, working with minors, and working around financial matters, may be powerful enough to reveal your arrests, even if they did not result in a conviction.
What Else to Know About Expungement
Those interested in pursuing an expungement action should consider this:
- Be prepared to wait. Most states require a waiting period of several years before an application for expungement can be made.
- Only relatively minor crimes are considered for expungement. In most cases, those accused of serious felonies are not considered for expungement.
- Expungement matters are up to the judge. They are not automatic and you must apply once the waiting period is over.
- Those with clear criminal records may be more successful with an expungement request than others with long rap sheets.
If you want to clear your name and your record, speak to a criminal defense attorney about applying for an expungement.Share