Having a criminal record expunged from your records can have a powerful impact on your ability to get a mortgage for a home, find a job, or obtain a professional license. When you have committed a crime, you will have a criminal record that can be researched by the public.
Ways to Expunge Your Record
There are different ways that records can be expunged. You may be able to have the records destroyed entirely. Then it will be as if the crime was never committed. Some states only allow your records to be sealed. This means that they will not be available to the public but certain persons can access them.
You may be able to obtain a certificate of innocence. If this is the case, any attempts to have your unsealed records will not matter because you will still be considered innocent after your records are unsealed. You must prove that you were innocent after you were convicted. If you are pardoned, you will not be allowed this but because you have been officially forgiven for your crimes, you may be able to offset the effects of your conviction.
How to Expunge Your Records
You will be able to expunge your records if you are eligible. If you are not sure whether you will qualify, you will want to speak to an attorney. Each state has its own requirements for having records expunged. Even if you are guilty and have been convicted, some states might allow you to expunge your records later. However, it will often depend on the type of crime you have committed.
You will need to wait for a period of time, then you will be able to petition a court of law to have your record sealed or expunged. If the court required you to pay restitution or pay a fine, you may need to complete this before you are able to expunge your records.
When Your Request is Denied
There are some cases where your request for expungement may be denied. You might not have waited long enough to qualify for expungement or your case might still be open. Also, if you have a federal conviction, you might not be entitled to expungement.
If your expungement is denied and you believe that you actually qualify for expungement, speak with an attorney. These cases can be complicated and your appeal may simply be denied if you do not have adequate legal representation. Contact a local attorney for more information about criminal record expungement.