Even though you may not feel like a real criminal if you have only a misdemeanor conviction, in the eyes of the law you are. And even if you’ve served out your punishment, you may be treated differently by others. Many people with a misdemeanor charge plead guilty, complete several hours of community service and pay a fine. While you might think the issue is over with, you’re only partly right. The fact is that the charge is now on your permanent record. If you’re asked by someone — say, a potential employer — whether you’ve ever been found guilty of a crime, you’ll have to respond with a “yes.” Your answer may alienate the other party and can result in the loss of a job opportunity or relationship. The best way to ensure that the issue is really over is to have the record expunged. When a record is expunged, it’s like the offense never occurred, and you’re under no obligation to acknowledge the offense.
The Expungement Process
Any individual with a misdemeanor conviction and some felony convictions can petition the court for an expungement, but you can file for an expungement only after the conviction, parole or pretrial intervention is completed. While no one can guarantee an expungement of the record will be granted, most misdemeanors are expungable when specific criteria is met. The court will grant an expungement with the following criteria:
- There are no other convictions during the intervening period.
- The minimum period between conviction and petition is met.
- The offense is not a sexual one and was not committed against someone less than 16 years of age.
- There is no other pending case against you, including a misdemeanor or felony charge.
- Probation is completed, community service is completed and all fines have been paid.
- The expungement forms contain supporting documents and are properly filed.
If you were arrested but not convicted of a state-law misdemeanor or felony, you can petition for expungement if the statute of limitations has expired, if the charges were dismissed, or if you were acquitted of the charges.
It’s important to note that you can expunge only one misdemeanor offense during a five-year period, and DUI convictions can be expunged only once every 10 years. Convictions involving domestic violence or sexual acts may not be expunged.
Whether you’re an adult or a juvenile, getting a criminal record expunged is a complex and tedious process. To achieve your desired outcome, it’s wise to use an experienced attorney that you can rely on for guidance through the legal process and court procedures. An experienced attorney in this area of law can let you know if you meet state eligibility requirements for an expungement. Additionally, this professional will file all the necessary motions and represent you in court if needed.
The Benefits of an Expungement
With today’s internet-age and the easy access to public information, it’s increasingly important to expunge a criminal record. It opens the door for a professional license, housing and jobs. Some employers even perform an annual criminal background check. When a record has been expunged, a background search by a governmental agency, educational institution or employer will not reveal an arrest or conviction except in limited circumstances. The criminal record has been destroyed or sealed from public view. An expungement can change your life, but it’s not done automatically. A person has to apply for one, follow state procedural laws and pay a fee.
It is important to note again that the expungement process is not always an easy one. However, as you can see, it is important to pursue every avenue to have your criminal record expunged. Because of the many complexities involved, having a skilled, experienced expungement attorney on your side will prove invaluable in the process. The expungement of a criminal record can really make all the difference in so many areas of a person’s life.
If you’re wondering whether or not you’re eligible for a misdemeanor or felony expungement, contact Chris Roy Jr, an experienced expungement attorney. With his guidance, you just may be on your way to a clean record. Reap the benefits of expungement with Chris’s legal assistance. Call 1-800-259-9850 to get help today.