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What does it mean to have your record expunged?

Everyone worries about passing a background check, qualifying for employment or getting approved for housing. Our permanent records can be a catalyst for the types of opportunities we are afforded. So having the option to get something expunged from your permanent record can really set the tone for your future.

Expungement (also known as expunction) is defined as a court-ordered process where a past criminal conviction or arrest is erased from your record. When a conviction or arrest is expunged from your record, it becomes unavailable information, meaning it will not show up on a background check.

Do I have to check that box that asks if I've been convicted of a crime if my record was expunged?

The short answer here is, no. If a past conviction has been expunged from your record, you do not have to disclose the conviction. Most job or rental applications will want to know if you have a criminal background, but if the record is expunged than you shouldn't have anything to worry about since the offense will no longer show in any background checks that are performed.

How do I get something expunged?

First, you have to be eligible for expungement. Some of those determining factors include:

  • How much time has passed since your conviction or arrest
  • Your criminal record (have you had multiple arrests or charges?)
  • The severity of the crime you're seeking expungement over

If you are eligible for expungement, there is a process that needs to be followed. This typically involves filling out a petition or application for expungement, paying any fees associated with filing and submitting your application for judicial review.

Should I get a lawyer?

It is always a good idea to have professional legal representation when you are going up against the court system. You can definitely try to go through process alone but consulting with an attorney is going to give you the best odds for success.

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