Also called expunction, an expungement is a legal procedure wherein the court record of a criminal conviction or arrest is erased from the law books. The expungement essentially means setting a criminal record aside. Expungement availability and the process to get a conviction or arrest expunged would vary across states or counties where the conviction or arrest happened. Keep reading to learn how to expunge court records and the aspects relating to the procedure.
Expungement Legal Effect
Generally, an expungement means a conviction or arrest that has been wiped off the criminal record of an individual. Once the expungement process is done with, the criminal conviction or arrest need not be specified by the particular individual during any situation. For instance, the person may not mention anything about his criminal past when applying for a job or seeking a place to rent. Generally, no conviction or expunged arrest record would show up if an educational institution, potential employer, or other firm conducts an inspection into the background of a person.
Factors Ascertaining Expungement Eligibility
Court record expungement is based on several factors, which includes jurisdiction, nature of charge or crime, time elapsed since the conviction or arrest, and criminal history. In states such as New York, criminal record expungement is not possible.
Difference Between Expunging and Sealing Records
Sealing your criminal records is similar to getting them expunged; however, it’s not as thoroughly concealed as an expungement. When criminal records are sealed, it indicates they cannot be readily accessed by the public. The public (in this context) comprises credits, employers, and private investigators. But, these records won’t cease to exist within the legal system realm. For instance, the sealed convictions can still be held against an individual as prior offence in case the person is arrested later.
How to Expunge Criminal Records?
The procedure for criminal record expungement, as aforementioned, isn’t the same across states. For instance, to expunge a record in Florida, the expungement petitioner should qualify to either expunge or seal as per Florida Statutes Section 943 rules.
Ideally, an individual can have his court records expunged only once. For example, if you had a record expunged as a juvenile, you can’t expunge another record as an adult. The time taken for expungement is usually 9 months, provided all the formalities and tasks relating to the process are carried out smoothly and effectively. The process could be wrapped up quicker or it may take longer based on the variables attached to the case and also the state where the procedure is being initiated.