A person’s reputation can be everything to a person. It can be the reason why a person is hired for a job, liked in a community and even trusted in a congregation. Thus, when criminal allegations pose harm to one’s personal and professional reputation, it is important that an individual understands how they could clear their name even when a conviction results.
An expungement allows for an arrest or criminal conviction record to be sealed. In other words, these records are erased in the eyes of the law. This means that a person’s arrest record or criminal conviction record does not need to be disclosed in matters such as when filling out a job or apartment application. This can be hugely beneficial because, in most cases, no record will appear when a background search is conducted by a potential employer, educational institution or any other company.
It should be noted that these records are not completely gone through the expungement process. These records will still be accessible by government agencies, law enforcement and the criminal courts. However, this limited accessibility could be used during criminal sentencing after the records have been expunged or during an immigration or deportation proceeding.
There are various factors that will determine if one is able to have their records expunged. Beyond the jurisdiction, this includes the nature of the crime, the amount of time that has passed since the arrest or conviction as well as the criminal history of the individual. It should be highlighted that expungement is different than having one’s records sealed. For example, if one just has their records sealed, his or her past conviction will still be considered if there is a future arrest.
Obtaining an expungement can be a complex legal process. Navigating this process on your own could result in you arriving in a more complicated situation than you began in. Thus, it is vital that you explore not only your legal rights in the matter but what options you might have when it comes to clearing your name and moving forward with your life.