Expungement Overview

Expungement is the process by which a person can have certain offenses on their criminal record removed. This tool can prove invaluable given the profound effect a conviction or arrest can have on a person's life.

Do you see a negative entry on your criminal background check? If so, you may be able to request an expungement for any misdemeanors or felonies appearing on your report.

Of course, just because a person is eligible for expungement doesn't guarantee that it will happen. Whether an expunction is possible will depend on the criminal charges the state filed against you.

This section provides basic information on expungement. It will explain when a person is eligible for expunction and when they are not. For more information on this topic, download FindLaw's Guide to Expungement. Or find a local law office to help you.

Findlaw also offers several articles that give an overview of the expungement process. These articles will explain the difference between sealed records and expunged records. They will also explain the different rules and how they apply to felony and misdemeanor convictions.

How Expungement Works

There are many factors the courts will consider before they grant an expungement request. They will look at the nature of your criminal case or felony convictions.

For example, if you are a convicted sex offender, you will likely not be eligible for expungement. The same is true if you violated one of your state's penal code sections dealing with murder or other violent crimes. They will also consider the amount of time that has passed since you committed the criminal offenses on your arrest record.

Expungement laws are different for every state. For example, some states allow you to have a DUI conviction expunged, while others do not. There are other times when your public record can become a sealed record but won't disappear entirely from potential employers and other parties.

How An Attorney Can Help

You may want to talk to a criminal defense attorney if you have any convictions or arrests on your criminal history. They can offer legal advice on whether expungement is an option for you.

Whether you are looking to have your juvenile records expunged or want a prior conviction removed from your criminal history, it's best to speak with a criminal defense lawyer. You may have a pending job application and want to ensure your criminal history is clean before your final interview. You may even be applying for a job in law enforcement and find an old court filing embarrassing.

Government agencies and criminal courts treat certain crimes and court records differently. Your criminal law attorney can explain this to you.

In the meantime, review the below links. They will explain how the criminal justice system and courts handle expungement requests. These articles will also explain how a court order for expungement can benefit your life.

Learn About Expungement

  • Expungement Basics: This article briefly introduces expungement, a process through which an individual can have an arrest or criminal conviction record sealed from public view.
  • Expungement is Not Always an Option: While the rules and limitations for expungement vary from state to state, this article lists the various barriers to expungement and when it may not be an option.
  • Expungement Eligibility: Not every offense is eligible for expungement from your record. This article explains who is eligible for a clean slate through expungement.
  • The Expungement Process: This article will explain what you should know about the expungement process in general, including links to detailed expungement procedures in California, Minnesota, and Missouri.

You Don't Have To Solve This on Your Own – Get a Lawyer's Help

A person's criminal record can affect their life in many ways. This is especially true for people with felony convictions for sex crimes or other serious crimes.

It's difficult to understand state law on the expungement process. Navigating any legal process can be daunting. You should meet with a criminal defense lawyer who can help you understand your options.

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