(844) 815-9632

expungement process

What Can and Cannot Be Expunged From Your Criminal Record?

It's welcome news to many criminal defendants that they can have their record expunged. While expungement might not be perfect -- most law enforcement agencies will still be able to see your arrest history and any convictions -- it means potential employers will have a harder time seeing your mistakes. But which mistakes are eligible for expungement, and which will remain on your permanent record? General Information For the most part, expungement eligibility is determined by the severity of the crime and the person's criminal record. State law can vary, but expungement is normally available for crimes committed as a juvenile and most misdemeanors, so long as you don't have an extensive criminal history. Also, expungement is usually a one-time deal -- if you're convicted of crimes committed after expungement, those are likely to stay on your record. Arresting Information Just because you've been arrested doesn't mean you're guilty. But a record of your arrest may pop up on a background check. Luckily most states will expunge an arrest record, especially if there was no conviction. And expungement can be part of a negotiated plea bargain. Getting rid of that online mug shot, however, might be a tougher task. Conviction Information If you've been convicted of a crime, whether you can clear your record will come down to state and local rules on expungement. Some states allow you to expunge a DUI conviction, some do not. This can come up especially if you're trying to expunge an out-of-state conviction. And some states are more likely to expunge a conviction after a certain amount of time has passed. No matter where you live, however, felony convictions are very difficult, if not impossible, to get expunged. The main criteria for most expungement decisions is the severity and nature of the event for which expungement is sought. Felony convictions normally involve more serious crimes, making them harder to get off your record. The expungement process can be complicated, and it certainly helps to have an experienced criminal law attorney on your side. If you have questions about your criminal record or want to have it expunged, contact one today. Related Resources: Find Criminal Defense Lawyers Near You (FindLaw's Lawyer Directory) The FindLaw Guide to Expungement (FindLaw PDF) Got Priors? How to Expunge Criminal Records (FindLaw Blotter) When Must You Disclose an Expungement? (FindLaw Blotter)
continue reading

Do I Have to Disclose My Criminal Record on Housing Applications?

Living with a criminal record isn't easy. It's harder to get a job and get into college, and a criminal conviction may even get you kicked off American Idol. All jokes aside, housing is one of our most basic needs, so can landlords refuse to rent to people with a criminal record? And do you have to explain a criminal conviction on a housing application? Public Housing While federal and state public housing authorities may not discriminate based on race, gender, religion, etc., they can absolutely consider criminal records when renting public housing. They can also consider new criminal convictions when deciding whether to evict an existing tenant. The only requirement is that public housing authorities provide a copy of the criminal record to the tenant or subject of the eviction notice. At that point, the tenant can dispute the accuracy of the record at a grievance hearing or a trial. Private Rentals Private landlords generally have more leeway when screening potential tenants, but in this case, state law may limit landlord actions. While landlords can refuse to rent to someone because of a criminal conviction, some states (like New York) prohibit landlords of buildings containing four or more apartments from having a blanket policy against renting to anyone with a criminal record. Make sure you're familiar with your state's laws on leases and rental agreements. Expungement One way of avoiding having to disclose a prior conviction is to get your criminal record expunged. Expungement rules vary from state to state, but generally an expungement will remove your criminal history from public view. If you are able to get your record expunged, a potential landlord won't be able to see your criminal history, and you won't need to disclose prior convictions or the expungement. If you've been denied housing due to your criminal record, you may want to talk to an experienced landlord-tenant attorney in your area. Related Resources: Browse Landlord-Tenant Lawyers by Location (FindLaw Directory) Do I Have to Hire a Felon? (FindLaw's Free Enterprise) Fair Housing Laws, Complaints, and Lawsuits (FindLaw) How to Get an Online Mug Shot Removed (FindLaw Blotter)
continue reading