Have A Criminal Record & Want A Fresh Start In Life? Consider Expungement

Posted on: 23 April 2021

Everyone makes mistakes, but some people make mistakes that land them in prison with a criminal record that can easily impact them every day for the rest of their lives even after they've served their time. If only there was a magic wand that can be waved to get a fresh start in life — but there is a way to remove criminal convictions from your record. it's called expungement.

While not as easy as waving a magic wand, it is well worth the effort to have your criminal record expunged, particularly if you want to raise a family. Here's why an expungement is beneficial and what you need to do to have your criminal records expunged. 

4 Ways an Expungement Can Benefit You

An expungement is the process of erasing a criminal conviction so it cannot be seen or found no matter what records are searched. Expunging your records means removing them completely from any and all databases as if you never were convicted. Here are four benefits of having your criminal records expunged: 

  1. Working. When you fill out applications for employment, you'll be required to disclose your criminal record history. Depending on what is involved and what the job entails, you may not be considered as a good candidate for employment if you have a criminal record. With an expungement, you will no longer be required to check the box that asks if you have criminal convictions. This means you may have more employment options opened up for you. 
  2. Housing. Whether you plan on renting or buying, you may be asked if you have a criminal record. Most landlords check criminal records and mortgage applications do sometimes ask if you have a criminal history. If you have your criminal record expunged, more doors will be opened to you when you search for new housing. 
  3. Schooling. If you'd like to go to school to further your education, you do not need to disclose that you have a criminal record. However, a conviction may limit your eligibility for federal student aid
  4. Volunteering. At some point in your life you may want to volunteer, such as to be a class helper at your child's school, a chaperone on a field trip, or a coach for a youth sport team, but you won't be able to volunteer if you cannot pass the criminal background check. Expunging your criminal record will open more opportunities to you for volunteering for your children or within the community. 

These are just several examples of how removing a criminal record can benefit your life as well as your family. 

How to Start the Process of Expungement

The process of expunging criminal records can be a lengthy one. Therefore, it's important to work with a lawyer who can help you through the process so you don't miss any important steps and procedures. States have different laws and requirements regarding expungements, but sometimes counties have additional requirements to meet as well. Therefore, it's crucial to work with a lawyer that practices law in the state and county where your criminal records are held. 

Typically, the process begins with obtaining all the related court documents and ensuring your criminal records are permitted to be expunged, since some records cannot be expunged, such as rape of a minor or failure to register as a sex offender. After your lawyer determines that your records are eligible for expungement, he or she will help you submit a petition to the court (or other process set forth by the state) to request for your records to be removed. Contact a criminal record expungement attorney to learn more.