Can a Lawyer Help With an Expungement?

Expunction, as expungement is also known, can help you in a variety of ways. If you committed a misdemeanor when you were younger, expunction is a valuable tool. You may be able to have your criminal conviction erased from your public records.

Expungement of an arrest or conviction can be a valuable tool for anyone who wants to clear up their criminal history. If you are applying for a job or want to rent a home, you will likely have to undergo a background check.

However, not everybody is eligible for expungement. Furthermore, completing the required steps in the process can be complicated.

An attorney can assist with the expungement process. They can help determine your eligibility and improve the chances of your expungement being approved.

Will Expungement Help?

The same is true if you were charged with a criminal offense but were not convicted. It doesn't seem fair that you should carry an arrest on your criminal record if you were never convicted of the crime.

There are many other ways in which an expunction can prove useful:

  • It will help protect your privacy.
  • An expungement will increase your career, school, and employment opportunities.
  • You may be able to have your civic rights, such as voting, reinstated.
  • You can legally deny or fail to disclose an expunged arrest or criminal conviction in most contexts.
  • It may allow you to seek and obtain certain professional licenses.

When you visit your attorney or go to a legal aid group, they will explain whether an expunction can help you.

Expungement May Not Solve Everything

There are many situations in which an expungement won't fix everything. For example, if you're seeking to expunge a record for immigration purposes, you might want to reconsider. Intending immigrants must disclose all arrests and criminal convictions regardless of whether they've been expunged. An expungement may even complicate your attempt to acquire documentation required by Immigration Services.

You must still disclose an expunged conviction if you apply for a state professional license. The same is true if you seek a security-related job or are considering running for public office. Some convictions may result in the automatic denial of licensure regardless of your expungement.

An attorney can help you determine whether an expungement will help your unique situation and discuss other options that may better meet your needs.

Easier Said Than Done

Many factors influence whether the court will grant an expungement. Certain crimes are always ineligible for expungement. Some minor crimes have conditions that must be met to qualify for expungement. To make matters even more uncertain, the court may have the discretion to deny your request even if the crime is eligible and the conditions are met.

Most jurisdictions will refuse to grant expungement for most felonies that involve rape, murder, sexual assault, crimes against minors, and serious weapons charges. Even relatively minor convictions can prevent the granting of an expungement if there are too many of them.

Most jurisdictions require that the petitioner complete a waiting period before they can apply for an expungement. The court wants to see that you have changed your ways before they grant your request. The waiting period is different depending on the crime. Sometimes you can request a waiver of this requirement, but it is rarely granted.

You must also have completed your sentence, including any probation, for your most recent conviction. You cannot ask to have a criminal record expunged if you are still in jail or prison or on probation.

The judge will consider the seriousness of your conviction. They will also rely on statements by probation officers, law enforcement officials, prison authorities, and others regarding your rehabilitation.

Why Should You Seek Legal Advice?

The expungement process can be difficult. You are required to complete specific forms and submit them to multiple parties. If you do not follow the rules perfectly, your request will be denied. This means you may have to repeat the process several times. That means you will also have to pay the filing fees more than once. This can become expensive.

If you get legal help from a private attorney or legal aid, the odds of your expungement being granted increase. A lawyer will go through the court records and make sure they identify the specific charges you want expunged. They will also ensure that your paperwork is sent to the required parties.

It also helps when the person who provides you with legal services is familiar with the expungement laws. They have access to a full law library and a familiarity with statewide case law. They know how the process works and can save you a lot of time and money.

Expungement Doesn't Make Your Criminal Record Disappear

It's important to understand that a record expungement may not solve all your problems. There is still a chance that your felony convictions and misdemeanor convictions will be available for public view. A subsequent conviction can, in some jurisdictions, result in the resurrection of expunged criminal records, leaving you right back where you started.

Some people will still see your expunged records. They may be available to any law enforcement agency, judges, and corrections officials in future proceedings. Some criminal charges never disappear. For example, a federal conviction cannot be expunged at all.

This doesn't mean you shouldn't pursue an expungement. As long as you stay out of trouble going forward, you may be able to clear up your criminal cases. However, if you have the option of scrubbing your record through an expungement, getting legal help may be a smart move. Attorneys have the legal information you need to expunge your criminal record successfully.

Expungement: Get Legal Help Today

If you're considering an expungement, you should seek legal advice before you start the expungement process. An experienced attorney will explain what (if any) expungement options are available based on your record and state laws. They will also guide you through each step in the expungement application process. Find a criminal law attorney near you today.

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