How to Get a Criminal Record Expunged

As an attorney with over 16 years of criminal law experience, including experience as a drunk driving lawyer, one of the most common questions I receive from clients is how to get a criminal record expunged. First of all, what does it mean to have a criminal record expunged? Having a criminal record expunged is the process of having one’s criminal record, including arrest and conviction records, set aside. For all intensive purposes, this means that you are no longer convicted of the crime you previously committed. However, if convicted of a new crime, the previous record can be used to increase your new sentence in some cases.

Once a criminal record is expunged, it is okay to sincerely tell potential employers that you have a clean criminal record. Having a criminal record expunged allows for more opportunities in regards to job selection, housing, and credit. Anyone who’s attempted to find a job with a criminal record is probably already aware of the difficulties and setbacks that can arise with a criminal record.

Every state and county has their own rules and qualifications, as well as terminology, for the procedure of having a record expunged. My suggestion is to do your research on the expungement procedure under the court’s jurisdiction for your specific state and county. It is possible to do this and file the proper forms through the local law enforcement agency that handled your arrest. However, I highly recommend consulting a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney as well.

As stated before, there are different eligibility requirements depending on the court system. Under some jurisdiction, only misdemeanor convictions are capable of being expunged. Other courts and certain states may allow the expungement of felony convictions.
In certain cases, expungement is only available once a sentence and probation terms have been completed. Drug crimes and juvenile offenses (after the age of 18) are typically easier to have expunged.

In the case of being arrested without being charged or the acquittal of a trial, you can request an immediate expungement. It is common for expungement to be disallowed with an extensive rap sheet, although every case needs to be evaluated on an individual basis.

Despite what you may have heard before, it is possible to expunge a criminal record. If you’re serious about creating new job and housing opportunities for you and your family, then I highly suggest doing your research on how to have a criminal record expunged in your city. You can obtain a copy of your criminal record through your local police headquarters or through the FBI. Also, don’t hesitate to discuss your case with an experienced lawyer.
Guest post is provided by Daniel Kay, Attorney at Law.  Daniel Kay is a criminal defense attorney residing in Herrin, Illinois.

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