A criminal record can sabotage a person’s future when they are seeking employment, applying to schools, enlisting in the military and trying to achieve myriad other objectives in life. Expungement provides a way to make things easier for people who are ready to put their troubled pasts behind them.
To get an expungement, it is imperative to know the steps and to have professional help from the start. It is wise to know that the expungement of an arrest record differs from the expungement of a criminal record.
What does the law say about expunging an arrest record?
Expunging an arrest record applies to those who were arrested, charged with a legal violation or face allegations of being a delinquent child. There are certain circumstances that must be in place to get the arrest record expunged.
First, the case must not have resulted in a conviction or a juvenile adjudication or this happening and being vacated as part of an appeal. The court may order a person to take part in a pretrial diversion program to prevent the behavior from happening again. This too is an obstacle to getting a case expunged.
After one year has passed from the time of the arrest, charges or allegation of being a juvenile delinquent and the person not having been convicted or deemed a delinquent or having the case vacated, it is also possible to seek an expungement.
There is certain information that must be part of the petition for expungement. It will include: when the arrest took place, the charges and the allegation of juvenile delinquency or conviction; the county of the arrest and indictment; the law enforcement agency that made the arrest; the court where it was filed; and the person’s identifying information.
The court is not obligated to approve the expungement. It will check to see if the person meets the requirements or if there is an indication in the statements that the person should not be granted an expungement. The court will want to see if the conditions are met and if criminal charges are no longer pending.
The benefits of the expungement are that once it is granted, there can be no more information about the case kept by the state or any law enforcement agency. Records of he arrest will be redacted or sealed.
Protecting your future
When thinking about clearing an arrest record via expungement, it is critical to know whether the person meets the fundamental requirements. It is also vital to know how to move forward with the process.
People commonly mistake an expungement for a pardon. They are not the same. The pardon forgives the criminal charge while the expungement seals or redacts it. There are several steps that must be taken when pursuing an expungement and it is useful to have professional assistance to try and get expunged and derive its benefits.