Is It Worth Getting The Record Expunged: An arrest record or a criminal record of a conviction can have a negative impact on the holder’s life. The record may become a barrier to the person living a normal life. A conviction record can become a barrier to getting employment, a new house, apartment, and professional licenses because landlords and employers conduct careful and complete background checks of the applicant.
Also, in order to apply for a professional license, you need to provide all information about your criminal records. A record of a minor offense such as disorderly conduct or driving carelessly can create problems and close the doors of opportunities in a person’s life.
The best solution is to seal or expunge your criminal record and start a new life. This article will help you understand what expungement is, who is eligible to apply for expungement and how to apply.
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What does getting your records expunged mean?
Expungement is defined as the procedure of sealing, erasing, or eradicating all previous conviction records. Every state has laws in place that allow you to expunge previous arrests and criminal records. The eligibility criteria, details, and rules differ from state to state. But the general law seen in all states is that once you expunge your arrest and conviction records, they will not be displayed or disclosed publicly, especially to employers and landlords.
If your record consisted of only one conviction for a minor offense such as minor theft and you get your conviction expunged, you can legally say that you have never been convicted of any offense. Expunging your criminal record means that the record will not be disclosed to the public, such as employees and landlords, nor will the record appear in any background check.
However, in some cases, the court might have to disclose the record, or some individuals or organizations may have access to it. For example, your criminal record may be accessed by a government agency if you apply for a law enforcement officer position.
It is also important to keep in mind that expunging your record does not mean that prosecutors, courts, and law enforcement agencies can not access your records. Expunged records can be used by the court during future hearings, sentencing, and charging.
Are you eligible to apply for expungement?
The very first thing you need to do is determine whether your criminal record is eligible for applying for expungement. The state you live in is the most important factor. Some states have very strict laws and do not allow the expungement of criminal records. But there are factors that determine the outcomes, including whether you were wrongly or rightly convicted of a crime, the severity of the crime you were convicted for, how long before were you convicted, did you complete your sentence, how long ago did you complete your sentence, probation period, and whether you have been convicted for more than one offense or if you have any criminal charges pending.
No state allows the expungement of serious offenses and severe crimes such as a sex offense unless in cases of identity theft and mistaken identity where you are not the person who did the crime or the person who was convicted. In some states, expungement of misdemeanors and domestic violence offenses is also prohibited.
On the other hand, a few states expunge old criminal records automatically or ask the court to expunge all records once the case is over. Every state has its own set of rules and laws which keep changing. This means you should go through and check for any updates in your state’s laws regarding expungement.
The states change and add new laws every now and then. It might happen so that you are not eligible to apply for expungement right now, but later on, due to updates to the state’s law, you may be able to apply. So keep checking for updates as the new laws may be of benefit to you.
It is recommended that you get in touch with an Expungement Lawyer in Richmond, VA. An expungement lawyer is well aware and updated about the existing laws of the state. They can help you get your criminal records cleared. Not only that, but they will also take care of all legal matters, represent you in court, communicate on your behalf and keep you informed about the laws.
How to apply for expungement
If you are eligible for expungement, you can complete the entire process on your own and will not need the help of a lawyer. In some states, it is very easy to apply for expungement, and they also offer websites that provide information about expungement and the forms needed that you can simply download.
In order to file your application, you need to pay a particular fee. However, some people are eligible to file for free. With the world developing very quickly around us, it is important that you have a qualified and skilled criminal law attorney with you. The majority of the expungement cases do not need a criminal law attorney and can be dealt with by you on your own, but you should not do so.
The Judge and their role in expungement
Being technically proficient for an expungement under the law is not the only requirement to get one. The judge must-see on the court record for the following: 1) the basic conduct proves that you are in no way a threat to the public safety of the state, 2) the expungement should be consistent with the public welfare, 3) the interests of justice should guarantee the expungement. The two findings are optional for the judge; this means that the judge could deny the expungement if he does not believe it to be warranted.
You can take the help of a lawyer in order to draft the specific reasoning for requiring an expungement. A lawyer is also beneficial because it is most likely that they’ve met the judge before and so can help present your case better. The lawyer will make use of ways that will make it most likely for the expungement to be approved.
An attorney will represent the other party
In case that your expungement is contested by one of the other parties, there will be attorneys to argue in front of the judge. They can put two arguments in front; one being that you do not qualify for the expungement or that you do not deserve it. If this is so, it is important and advisable that you have your own attorney present. The attorney will help prevent any objections from the other sides and can anticipate these and come up with a plan accordingly.
An Attorney will help save your time
There are a number of benefits of having an attorney. An attorney helps you save your valuable time by doing all the necessary work required for the expungement. The attorney can easily track down the court documents, draft a petition, file it in accordance with the court procedures, and also serve it to other parties.
Attorneys tend to charge reasonable money for expungements and take a great deal of work upon themselves, saving you a great deal of time. They make the process easier and handle everything for you. From drafting the petition to filing it, they do everything, including getting a hearing date.
If your expungement request is denied by the judge, you will have to wait for a year before applying again.
Filing an expungement is no joke. When you’re filing the expungement, you must make sure that you’re doing it correctly. If your petition gets dismissed by the court, you cannot file another petition before a year has passed since the date of your first petition. Being sure about your actions is essential. It is advisable that you take the help of an expungement attorney to get assurance on everything going in the process so that you do not have to face dismissal and a one-year prohibition from refiling.
In a nutshell
Everyone deserves a second chance at life, and the law of the unites states offers a second chance to those who have a criminal record of arrest and conviction. If you have a criminal record, you can start over a new leaf by getting your records expunged. Expungement refers to the process of deleting, erasing all your previous criminal records such that they won’t be displayed to the public.
Many people face issues in getting a job and a place to live because employers and landlords cannot ignore their conviction records. But once you get your records expunged, they will not be displayed, and you can proudly answer no if asked, “have you ever been arrested?” or “do you have any criminal records?” The process of expungement may sound difficult, but a criminal record attorney can make it easy for you. A lawyer will help you understand the situation, fight for your legal rights and help you live a better life.