Having a criminal record can have several negative impacts on someone’s life. Once you have done time for a crime, gone through probation, and paid all your fines, you may have a chance to clear your criminal record.
Almost all states in America allow one to limit public access to their criminal records, seal it, or expunge it. An expunction is the only way you can completely remove any criminal records or records of arrest from public availability. The law allows one to expunge some records of arrests or criminal records.
However, it is important to note that not everyone is eligible for an expunction. Some circumstances may not allow you to expunge your criminal record. Talk to a Fort Worth law firm attorney to know if you can get an expunction and what you need to do to get one.
Meanwhile, read on for more details on what you need to know about getting an expunction.
Who Is Eligible for an Expunction?
To be eligible for an expunction, you need to have completed the terms of your sentence. This includes probation, fines, parole, and all the terms that come with your release. Expungement laws vary from state to state. In some states, you can only expunge misdemeanors and some felonies. However, very serious or violent crimes may not be expunged.
After completing your sentencing, you will also have to wait for a certain period of time before you get expunged. During this time, you should remain crime-free. A new arrest or conviction can cost you your expunction. For instance, if you were convicted in 2018 and sentenced to 12 months in jail and three years on probation, you will likely complete your sentence in 2022 with good behavior. If your state laws allow you to expunge your record five years after completing your sentence, you will have to wait until 2027 for an opportunity at expunction. Some courts also consider one’s prior convictions and their behavior since the conviction to know if they are eligible for an expunction.
The Process of Filing for an Expunction
Several states require one to file a petition with the court that convicted them for an expunction. However, the process of filing for one differs from state to state. Some states might require one to file a petition form asking for an expungement, while others use a rather straightforward method.
Other states have an automatic system that requires no actions on your part. Depending on your state, you will need the help of your attorney to get your record expunged. The cost of filing for an expunction will also depend on your state. In some states, the court can waive the expunction fee if you can prove financial hardship.
The Effects of an Expunction
In some states, an expunction can help to seal your criminal records from the public completely. However, in other states, the record will remain available to the public, but the conviction will be indicated as dismissed. Regardless of your state laws, your record will always remain available to the courts.
If your records have been expunged, you do not have to disclose them to your potential employer while applying for any license or while renting or buying a home. You can only disclose your record if you are legally obligated. Note that your landlord or employer might still find your criminal record online. This is because it is difficult to get rid of all information online completely.
Get More Information on Expunction from Your Attorney
In an effort to limit the adverse effects of a criminal record or convictions, several states expanded their expunction laws to prevent such records from affecting someone’s life forever. If you want to know if you are eligible for an expunction, talk to your attorney and find out more about the expunction laws in your state. Your attorney will help you file a petition and get your record expunged.