Criminal charges on record can stop you from achieving many of the things you might wish from your life. Loan applications, apartment rentals and most importantly jobs can turn you down because during a background check it has been found that you have a criminal conviction on your file. Your charge may however be eligible for expungement, this is a legal process that seals or destroys criminal records so they are not visible when businesses or individual perform a criminal background check on you.
Much of the process depends on the crime and when it was committed, some criminal charges are never available for expungement. Violent crimes and in some states drug offences are not able to be sealed or destroyed and at the moment any federal crime is not subject to the process. Most minor felonies and almost all misdemeanors can be removed from an individual’s record following an expungement petition and in some cases a hearing to complete the process. Specialist lawyers understand the intricate nature of the law that varies considerably from state to state and will be able to advise you thoroughly about the nature of your crime and the possibility of the records being sealed.
This process is different than an official pardon, with a pardon the record of the crime is still available it is just known that you have been granted clemency. This means the crime will stay visible to those who are performing background checks, in the case of expungement the crime is not available to others who are looking into your background. With many legal proceedings this process can be complex, it is achievable without legal representation but the chance of misfiling or clerical errors can mean a great deal of inconvenience and hassle.
If you believe that you have a charge on your record that is eligible for this process then you should contact legal representation and discuss the situation. A knowledgeable lawyer can inform you almost immediately what the chances of expungement in your case can be. If you have no prior convictions and the crime falls within eligible categories then there is a good chance that you will be successful in your claim. If however your crime falls within certain categories you will be informed that the process is not available to you. The general rule is whether the crime can be considered “serious”, if for example it is a violent or sexual crime then the courts will refuse expungement immediately. For lesser charges, traffic violations, minor non-violent crimes if there has been a period of no further criminal activity then there is a good possibility you can be free of the stigma of having a criminal record.