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What Is Expungement and Who Qualifies for It?

Expungement is the process of having arrest or conviction records expunged, which prevents others from viewing them. Having your records open can make it difficult to find a job, and some landlords may not want to rent to a person with a criminal record. Furthermore, most states do not require you to disclose that you've been arrested on job applications if that arrest has been expunged.

Note that while some people use the terms expungement and sealing interchangeably, these are two different processes. A criminal defense attorney can explain the differences between the two.

Do I Qualify for Expungement?

The answer depends on the jurisdiction where you were arrested or tried and the severity of the conviction. For example, you may qualify for expungement if the crime was a misdemeanor, but not if it was a felony.

Furthermore, expungement may only be an option for people who have already finished their full sentences and have paid all related fines. If you have time left on probation, you may not be able to have your record expunged. Expungement may not be an option if you have other pending charges.

Expungement is often easier for cases that occurred when you were a minor. You may be able to petition the courts for expungement once you turn 18. In other cases, you may need to have a clean record for a minimum amount of time to qualify for expungement.

Some drug crimes often have an easier path to expungement than other crimes through diversion programs. Thus, you'll need to research expungement laws for the specific jurisdiction as well as the crime.

How Do I Get My Record Expunged?

If you qualify for expungement, you'll need to petition the court to have the record expunged. You do not necessarily need a lawyer to file forms to apply for expungement.

Will Expungement Hide the Records From Everyone?

While the general public may not be able to see a record that has been expunged, there are still people and agencies who have access to this information. This includes police departments as well as some licensing boards.

Are There Other Options to Consider?

Yes. If you were found not guilty of a crime, you might be able to obtain a Certificate of Actual Innocence, which may be more useful than expungement.

Contact Attorney Mark Raymond McDonald Today

As you can tell, there are many intricacies relating to expungements. Working with an experienced criminal defense attorney will ensure you have the best chances of leaving your past behind you.

Call us today (909) 443-1599 to learn more about how our team can help over a consultation.

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