Every state is different but you can expunge an adult criminal record if you meet the qualifications for doing this and properly follow your states’ guidelines. If you are asking yourself this question, there is a good chance that you are an upstanding citizen that got into an anomaly of trouble in your past. Lucky for you, most states have enacted laws that allow adults to expunge arrests and convictions from their records. Every state is different and every individual’s situation is unique to their circumstances.
These are some of the reasons that it is recommended people to seek the advice of a lawyer when trying to get their record expunged.
If your record has been expunged, are you allowed to say “no”in answer to the question of whether you have criminal arrests or convictions?
Most states’ laws provide that once an arrest or conviction has been expunged, it does not need to be disclosed. This means that if you have expunged an arrest and/or conviction, you are allowed to reply, “No,” on employment and housing rental applications in answer to the question of whether or not you have ever been convicted of a criminal offense.
A real life and fairly common example of this is when an individual is arrested and/or convicted of a DUI or DWI. If this was this person’s only brush with the criminal justice system, and the only incident on their criminal record, they may be able to expunge it from their record. If an application for a potential employer or landlord asks, “Have you ever been convicted of a criminal offense?” someone with an expunged record can legally and honestly answer, “No.”
How do you know whether you are eligible for expungement in your state?
A good place to begin the process of investigating whether or not you are eligible for your criminal record to be expunged, is with your county’s criminal court, or the law enforcement agency that handled your arrest.
Some questions you may want to ask about your eligibility include but are not limited to:
– Is my offense eligible for expungement in my state?
Some states allow expungements for arrests and misdemeanor convictions but do not allow criminal convictions to be expunged.
– Am I eligible for an expungement?
Some states only allow for expungements after a person has finished serving their sentence, including their probation period if they have one.
– Do you need a lawyer to file an expungement?
Many people find it much easier to file for an expungement with the help of a lawyer but the law does not require that you to use a lawyer if you do not want to.
– If your record is expunged, is it possible for people to find this out?
Even though an expungement is often sufficient to block others from finding out about your record, in some circumstances, it can still show up. While this does not hold true for every jurisdiction, examples of this are police departments and licensing boards. These types of agencies may be able to find out about their job applicants’ expunged records.
For more legal information, visit the Law Education Center.