Any one who has an arrest or been charged with a crime fully understand the many ways the records of these unfortunate circumstances can affect you and your entire life style. It can affect your ability to get a job or if you are already employed it may hamper your chances of getting promoted. In fact a criminal record may even prevent your from being able to obtain a loan from a bank or being able to rent an apartment. There are many other embarrassing situations which will come in your way and it will lead your life into a miserable situation.
Expungement of that information is the most common way to get relief from this dark past in your life. An expungement is the legal process of going to court to ask a judge to seal a court record. It is important to remember that an expunged record is NOT destroyed only sealed. The police, FBI, immigration officers, and other public officials may still see sealed court files for certain purposes. Usually, people ask for an expungement when they have been denied a job, housing, or a professional license because of their criminal background. Most juvenile criminal records are automatically sealed.
Although, every state has some type of expungement laws, each is different as to what crimes and under what circumstances a crime maybe expunged. Most states allow expungement in instances, where the accused was acquitted, where the charge was dismissed or where the accused was never prosecuted.
Many states will allow expungement for minor offenses despite the fact that the accused was actually found guilty of the crime. However, usually an expungement is not allowed until a certain amount of time has passed since completion of any sentence or probation (such time period could range between one to five years). In addition most states require that you have no prior or subsequence criminal record.
Enlisting the service of an attorney is not always need to expungement but the process of expunging a record can be complex and confusing. In some states, it is just a matter of filing the required paperwork. In other states, it requires filing paperwork, collecting evidence, and arguing for expungement in front of a judge and against the arguments of a district attorney. Depending on the state it may be wise to hire an attorney.