Expungement or sealing juvenile criminal records after reaching adulthood is a common request and is usually easy to pursue. However, obtaining a pardon and expungement or sealing your adult criminal records from your adult years is more complicated but not impossible.
If you wish to have your adult criminal records expunged or sealed, here are a few things you should know. To get more advice on your case and determine whether you are eligible for expungement, contact one of our criminal lawyers from Jag Virk Law.
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What is the difference between expunging and sealing?
Often used interchangeably, expunging a criminal record and sealing one are two very different processes, and they both have varying requirements for you to be eligible for either.
Sealing your criminal records prevents the public from viewing it, including employers; however, most government agencies have access to the records. If your criminal record has been expunged, not even the government can access it, even if they have a court order.
In both situations, however, you are not usually required to disclose that you were ever arrested. So for everyday life or looking for employment, it’s as if the arrest never occurred.
What if you were convicted of the crime?
If you were convicted of the crime or pled guilty to the crime, the list of crimes that cannot be expunged as an adult is much longer. Crimes that cannot be expunged are sexual offenses involving minors, in cases with a lifetime jail term or lifetime probation, and more than three indictable offenses where the sentence was more than two years in jail each time.
It is essential to consult with your lawyer before beginning the process of trying to seal or expunge your adult criminal record.
What if you were not convicted of the crime?
When the police arrest you and take your fingerprints, they create a criminal history for you. It doesn’t matter whether they convict you of the crime or acquit you or if they drop the charges before the trial; you will still have a criminal record.
If you were never convicted of the crime, then it’s highly likely that you will be able to have your arrest expunged or sealed. To be eligible for this, you must never have a past criminal record expunged or sealed. In addition, you must not have a pending petition for an expungement or sealing either.
There is a list of specific crimes that are not eligible to be expunged or sealed. Most of these are usually violent crimes such as the battery, assault, arson, etc. However, if you were arrested by mistake or unlawfully and you could prove that the arrest was unlawful, these exceptions would not apply.
You should discuss with your criminal lawyer to determine if your case is eligible for expungement or sealing. It is also essential you ensure your lawyers handle your application correctly because an improperly completed application will be rejected. Additionally, once your matter is in court, you would want a professional at your side to increase your chances of having your criminal records expunged.