Intro To Court Record Expungement Basics

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.

How To Expunge Court Records

How to expunge court records? To start with the process, you must file in a petition. To successfully file a criminal record expungement petition, there are a few steps and hoops to go through. Moreover, the formalities would vary across jurisdictions. The ideal first step is to get in touch with the justice authorities within the jurisdiction your conviction happened and seek details relating to expungement. You could also determine if an expungement truly applies to your particular case. Irrespective of the different jurisdiction variances, you could usually start by amassing everything required for completing the petition, such as funds to pay the fees and a couple of sets of fingerprints. It could also be handy to find a legal aide or attorney to help you with the process or peruse your petition for completeness and accuracy before it’s being submitted.

You must understand that expungement is an option not available to everyone. Generally, the law delineates the situations qualifying for an expungement. It could also explicitly state scenarios during which expungement could not be approved. This means you should refrain from wasting time and energy and ensure your conviction qualifies for expungement prior to applying for the same. Details pertaining to the qualifications are usually found online on a site belonging to the justice department of a jurisdiction.

You would also have to ascertain the location of your physical criminal records. Usually, the records are available with the court that convicted you. Contact the department or court owning your records and let them be aware of your plans to file an expungement petition. In several cases, they would have instructions and forms that specifically concern that jurisdiction. Make sure to carefully go through all the documents provided to you.

The petition-filing process won’t be simple. And since you would be dealing with a lot of legal processes and terms in the forms, it’s recommended you have an attorney taking your side. Remember, if you fail to execute the petition process right, all your efforts would go in vain.

Quite often, to complete an expungement petition, you would require several items. For starters, you must head to the police department and procure a couple of fingerprint sets. You would most probably require an arrest record copy and court record too, as these documents would have to be included within your petition. Even if those attachments don’t matter, the records have information usually required, such as arrest date, case numbers, and conviction date. Moreover, you would need funds to pay the necessary fee since filing an expunge petition isn’t free.

Will And Estate Legal Services

We work so hard all our lives to survive and take good care of our families. If we’re lucky, then we’ll get to save some funds for a rainy day or have a significant sum to bequeath to those who will come after us. These things can get highly technical and legalistic. Avoid potential issues by acquiring the will and estate legal services of seasoned attorneys. They will provide you with sage advice every step of the way. Every requirement will be met to ensure that the documents drawn up according to your wishes will be incontestable in court. Here are a few reasons why you should start to create your will today:

Take Control While You Can

There is simply no way for us to know when we will go. It could all be over after we board a plane, cross a street, undergo surgery, drive a car, or get into a fight. The odds may be slim but accidents do happen. Even if we are lucky enough to linger until our old age, we will gradually lose our faculties to the point that we may no longer be able to have the clarity of mind or the physical strength needed to perform these arduous tasks. Go ahead and take control of your resources while you can. Dictate how your estate will be divided and used up after you are gone. Don’t let the courts decide for you.

Guarantee the Welfare of Your Loved Ones

Another reason why you should not delay things is thatythe absence of a will makes the distribution of your estate quite a messy affair. The courts will ultimately decide the fate of all the things you have worked so hard for. They are unlikely to view the world as you do or decide how you would. If anything, they will go by the book which doesn’t really take into account all of the personal knowledge that leads you to think and act differently. There may be people that you wish to have certain items. You might want the shares of the estate to skew more towards some family members and not others.

Avoid Prolonged Family Squabbles

The lack of a will is going to result in a long court process that might only get resolved after many years. Different factions of the family might file their claims and counter-claims. This will leave the most vulnerable ones in a dire situation. Instead of receiving their due, the children will have to wait for the adults to get things sorted out. This might affect their educational plans and other important matters. Avoid these unnecessary squabbles.