If you have a conviction on your record, you might feel as though your world is coming to an end. In reality, a conviction is merely a temporary setback. Lean on a savvy record expungement attorney for an expungement and you will have a new lease on life. Though an expungement does not fully erase a criminal record, it makes it easier for those with prior legal trouble to obtain employment, housing, United States citizenship and the other necessities of life. Consider the merits and drawbacks of expungement as detailed below before making a decision.
WHY IT MAKES SENSE TO SEEK A RECORD EXPUNGEMENT
Expungement is quite the powerful legal tool. Those convicted of crimes often seek expungement to relieve the burden tied to a criminal conviction and move on with life. There are innumerable practical benefits to having a criminal record expunged. Consider how a prospective employer views convicted criminals who apply for open positions. If you are currently employed and your employer finds out you had a prior criminal conviction, your job will be in jeopardy. It does not matter how long ago the criminal action occurred, whether you have or had extenuating circumstances or any other legitimate reason for the conviction. The bottom line is it is awfully difficult to obtain and maintain employment after being convicted of a crime. In fact, merely being arrested without being convicted has the potential to make it difficult to obtain gainful employment.
EMPLOYERS, LANDLORDS AND GOVERNMENT AGENCIES DISCRIMINATE AGAINST THOSE WITH CRIMINAL RECORDS
The majority of states bar those with criminal convictions from eligibility for food stamps and other forms of federally public assistance programs. Most states also provide criminal history information to the public on the web. If anyone on the globe can find out about your criminal conviction, it will be awfully easy for employers and other parties to discriminate against you. It only takes a couple seconds to run a Google search on an applicant.
Even if your criminal conviction is minor in nature or decades old, the parties referenced above will still be able to discriminate against you. In fact, it is even possible for your criminal record to result in denied employment or housing. Public housing authorities really will deny eligibility for housing paid for with federal assistance simply because the applicant has a criminal conviction or even an arrest that did not lead to a conviction. Private landlords can refuse rental housing to those with specific criminal convictions.
It is also possible for the state to review an applicant’s criminal record when determining if he or she is suitable for a parenting role. If you are considering adopting a child or fostering a child, it is imperative you reach out to our law office to get the ball rolling on an expungement.
EXPUNGEMENT PAVES THE WAY TOWARD A COLLEGE DEGREE, VOLUNTEER ROLES AND LOW INTEREST RATES
Those who are planning on going to college or returning to school to complete a degree should be aware of the fact that the Higher Education Act of 1998 makes students convicted of any drug-related offense ineligible for student loans, grants and work assistance programs. Add in the fact that the majority of professional certifications mandate a criminal history check before issuance and it is easy to understand why so many opt for expungement.
Those who would like to volunteer in positions that help youngsters such as Pop Warner, Little League, Boy Scouts, etc. must have a spotless criminal history. Even loan interest rates and automobile insurance rates have the potential to be altered by criminal history.
A RECORD OF ARREST EXISTS EVEN IF YOU ARE NOT FOUND GUILTY
The average person is understandably unaware of the fact that simply being arrested has the potential to significantly decrease his or her quality of life. Even if the case is dismissed or a not guilty verdict is reached, there will still be a record of the court case and arrest. There is a common misconception that all criminal records are automatically sealed or erased as time progresses. Every single person’s judicial criminal record and non-judicial criminal record can be viewed by the public. If the criminal record is not expunged or sealed by a judge, the record will be accessible to the general public across posterity.
HAVE YOUR RECORD EXPUNGED AND YOU CAN DENY ARREST FOR THE INCIDENT
Expungement empowers you to legally deny or even legally refuse to acknowledge a prior arrest for the incident that was expunged or sealed. There is no reason to feel bad about refusing to acknowledge an arrest or criminal conviction to a prospective employer, landlord or other party. You need employment, housing and other necessities of life to survive.
A mistake made earlier in life should not stop you from being a productive member of society with shelter, sustenance and dignity. Expungement ultimately protects your privacy and well-being. After all, it is not an employer’s or landlord’s business that you had legal troubles in the past. You deserve a fresh start with a clean slate provided by a record expungement attorney.
THE DRAWBACKS OF EXPUNGEMENTS
There are some disadvantages of drawbacks yet these drawbacks do not outweigh the merits. If you end up back in court, the judge can review your record. The judge is permitted to view your entire criminal history as he must analyze your prior transgressions to determine a potential sentence or other punishment. Furthermore, it is important to note a record expungement does not fully erase your criminal record. Private investigators and other parties performing background checks can also search your criminal record to determine if you have any prior convictions.
EXPUNGEMENT AND VOTING
Nearly every single state bars convicted criminals from voting unless they satisfy specific criteria. In California, a convicted criminal’s right to vote is only restored after he or she has completed prison or parole. If you are convicted of a crime and decide to move to another state, you should be aware a dozen such states have lifetime voting bans for those convicted of crimes.
AN EXPUNGED CRIME HAS THE POTENTIAL TO FOLLOW YOU FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE
If you are convicted or even accused of another crime, it will still be possible for the accusation or conviction to follow you after a record expungement. As an example, expunged convictions can be used when a subsequent crime is prosecuted and a sentencing is handed down. Expunged convictions can be used as evidence of previous behavior or in an attempt to prove the individual in question has a history of criminal behavior. Furthermore, most states permit evidence of an expunged conviction to be used for the sentencing of additional crimes. This is important to note as the majority of states have less severe sentences and penalties for those found guilty of a crime for the first time. Penalties are that much more severe for those with prior convictions.
Anyone with an internet connection and a couple dollars has the potential to find out about your conviction. Even though the court agrees to remove records of the expungement, there will still be a trail of evidence online and in news archives. As an example, Mugshots.com features mugshots and information about those arrested for alleged transgressions. The bottom line is it is impossible to fully expunge information in the era of the internet. Do not assume an official expungement is the absolute end of this legal drama. The fact of the matter is the event in question happened and it cannot be completely erased from history.
RECORD EXPUNGEMENT IN THE CONTEXT OF IMMIGRATION AND DEPORTATION ISSUES
Convicted criminals who have taken the necessary steps for a record expungement could face some issues in regard to immigration matters and possible deportation. Those facing proceedings for immigration or deportation will likely be vetted to determine if they have expunged their record. Those who are not citizens of the United States and those who have entered the United States illegally can be deported for any type of criminal offense.
It is particularly important to note the federal government handles deportation hearings and other immigration matters so state laws pertaining to expunged criminal records do not have to be honored. It is possible the federal government will deport you if you are not a legal citizen on the United States simply because your criminal record has been expunged.
EXPUNGEMENT IS "ONE AND DONE"
If you have been convicted or accused of a crime, you should know you only have one chance to expunge your record. Merely one criminal case can be expunged in a lifetime. If the case is minor, be it a traffic misdemeanor or other transgression, it might not make sense to expunge it. Meet with a record expungement attorney, weigh the pros and cons of expungement and you will be able to make a truly informed decision.
EXPUNGEMENTS AND JOBS
Those convicted of one or multiple convictions are required to report such transgressions when applying for public jobs. Furthermore, prospective occupational licensing agencies must be notified of the fact that a conviction is on your record. Though you must answer in the affirmative when these two groups inquire about criminal conviction history, it is important to follow-up by stating the conviction has been subsequently dismissed. Furthermore, some government agencies might be able to access information pertaining to expungement convictions.
The logic in letting government agencies access such information is learning of an expungement protects public safety. Though this is unfair to the individual whose record has been expunged, some state governments have determined it is more important to protect public safety than have the individual in question be treated as though no prior transgression occurred.
Government discrimination against those with expunged records even extends to employment. If asked to answer questions regarding criminal history, arrests and record expungements on an application or during an interview for a government job, it is likely in your best interest to tell the truth. Federal agencies consider answering such questions in the negative to be a crime if you have expunged your criminal record. Beyond conducting a web search for a candidate’s name, employers also have the ability to turn to private providers of information to conduct background checks on those applying for work. Some businesses have gone as far as downloading court databases every now and then just to see if an applicant has a criminal history. There is no way to stop a prospective employer from conducting such a search.
EXPUNGEMENTS TAKE UP SOME TIME AND MONEY
Clearing your record of a conviction will cost some money. You will have to pay for the attorney’s legal services. You will also have to invest a bit of your own time in this endeavor as record expungement requires at least one meeting with an attorney. The cost of an attorney is not the sole expense involved in expunging a record. Some private entities put a photo or record of those with criminal convictions in public spaces and publications. These groups are not forced to remove such records from databases. Such images will only be removed if a fee is paid.
An expungement does not automatically provide you with the right to legally own or possess a gun. Have your record expunged and you will find the California DMV does not automatically restore your driving privileges. If your felony or misdemeanor charge does not result in time served in state prison, you will be eligible to request an expungement when the probation term expires. However, probation is not granted in some cases. A minimum of a full year from the time of conviction must elapse before you are permitted to apply for an expungement. Felony criminal charges such as felony DUI mandate you initially request the felony charge to be decreased to a misdemeanor. The same requirements for expungements are applicable.
If you are charged with a new misdemeanor or felony at the time the expungement is filed, the court will have justification for denying the request and refusing to grant the expungement. Though a pending traffic law violation usually does not preclude the expungement of a criminal conviction, it is best to avoid traffic infractions and criminal activity to boost the odds of the expungement being granted. For the most part, a traffic violation will have no impact on whether an expungement is granted.
Finally, it is fairly challenging to obtain an expungement. You need the assistance of our skilled Record Expungement Attorney to satisfy the court’s obligations. It is imperative those looking to expunge their conviction avoid all criminal charges in the time leading up to, during and after the application for expungement.
RECORD EXPUNGEMENT ATTORNEY IS HERE TO HELP
If you are considering a record expungement, you will need the assistance of an experienced record expungement attorney. Contact our law office today to schedule an appointment. You can reach us by dialing 714-587-5907.