Criminal Expungement

Expungement is a court-ordered process in which the legal record of an arrest or a criminal conviction is “sealed,” or erased in the eyes of the law. The availability of expungement and the procedure for getting an arrest expunged will vary according to the state or county in which the arrest occurred.

Legal Effect of an Expungement

An expungement ordinarily means that an arrest or conviction is erased from a person’s criminal record for most purposes. After the expungement process is complete, an arrest ordinarily does not need to be disclosed by the person who was arrested. For example, when filling out an application for a job or apartment, an applicant whose arrest has been expunged does not need to disclose that arrest.

In most cases, no record of an expunged arrest will appear if a potential employer, educational institution, or other company conducts a background search of an individual’s criminal record.

An expunged arrest is not necessarily completely erased, in the literal sense of the word, because the expungement will ordinarily be accessible and viewable by certain government agencies, including law enforcement and the criminal courts.  This limited accessibility is sometimes referred to as a criminal record being” under seal.” In some legal proceedings, such as during sentencing for any crimes committed after an expungement, or in immigration/deportation proceedings, an expunged conviction that is “under seal” may still be considered.

Whether you or a loved one need information on an expungement, contact Chester Jennings & Smith, LLC.