Top Legal Experts Show You the Strategies to Prevent a Criminal Record from Ruining Your Life

Understanding Expungement: Your Path to a Clear Record

A criminal record can severely hinder life opportunities, such as securing employment, further education, or obtaining loans. Expungement allows for sealing your criminal records, effectively making them inaccessible to the public and absent from background checks. While some documents may be sealed automatically by law, others require a judge's approval based on balancing your rehabilitation and the public's right to information.

Statutory Expungement: A Broader Scope of Record Sealing

You may be eligible for a statutory expungement if:

  • • Your case was resolved in your favor or resulted in diversion;
  • • You have a juvenile delinquency record;
  • • Your case resulted in a petty misdemeanor or misdemeanor, and you have been crime-free for two years after your sentence was completed;
  • • You have a conviction for a gross misdemeanor, and you have been crime-free for four years after your sentence was completed;
  • • You have a conviction for a qualifying low-level, non-violent felony and have been crime-free for five years after your sentence was completed.

Judicial Expungement: A Focused Remedy

Judicial expungement is available for most other records, although it only affects court records not those held by external agencies. This form of expungement can still offer significant relief, rendering your court records invisible to public searches.

Visibility Post-Expungement

While statutory expungement provides comprehensive sealing, making your record practically invisible, judicial expungement only conceals court records. This means that while the court system won't reveal your records, other state agencies may still retain associated records unless specifically ordered to seal them.

What If You Were Acquitted or Charges Were Dismissed?

Even if you were acquitted or charges were dismissed, you must still undergo the expungement process to officially clear your record. Successful expungement seals your record across various databases, significantly enhancing your privacy and peace of mind.

Navigating the Expungement Process

Expungement involves detailed procedures, including paperwork and court hearings, typically takes several months. Catherine is experienced in guiding clients through these procedures, advocating effectively for their right to a second chance.

Federal Convictions: Limitations and Alternatives

Unfortunately, federal convictions cannot be expunged through the courts. The only remedy in such cases is a presidential pardon, a significantly more challenging and rare outcome.

To learn more about how expungement might apply to your situation or to start the process, contact Catherine today for a comprehensive consultation.