Being convicted of a crime can make it difficult to put your life together, even after you’ve paid your debt to society. Fortunately, many states allow you to get a felony expungement or close your criminal record under some circumstances, which may make it easier to find housing and pursue a career. Here are answers to some of the most common questions expungement lawyers often receive about the process.
An expungement essentially seals an element of an individual’s record, making the information inaccessible to employers and property owners who may conduct background checks. However, some law enforcement agencies may still be able to access the information contained in the expunged files. This done usually with a criminal defense lawyer.
In some states, people arrested for misdemeanor offenses must wait three years before filing for expungement. For felony charges, often the mandatory waiting period is seven years, unless you were charged with a DUI. In these very specific cases, your records are only eligible for expungement after 10 years.
Law makes criminal expungement available for a broad range of charges, but some offenses are automatically disqualified. For instance:
To start the process, you must file a form with the court that handled the original case, including details about each record you would like expunged. The process can be time-consuming and difficult, so you may want to contact an expungement attorney for help.