People make mistakes, and sometimes we make mistakes that have consequences we are not able to comprehend or appreciate at the time frame. It does not matter if it was a minor drug crime or theft. However, the mistakes we made years ago should not continue to haunt us in the future. In addition, having a conviction record or an arrest as part of your history can make it difficult to obtain grants for schooling, it can hinder a number of employment opportunities, it might make it difficult to find housing, and it has a wide variety of other drawbacks.
Yet even those with a checkered past will be happy to note that there is a legal procedure that can help you get your records expunged. Even though this may not work for all criminal records, it is possible to expunge certain felony and misdemeanor charges from your record.
The benefits of getting your records expunged
The truth is that it takes considerable time and effort to have your criminal record expunged, but there are many different advantages that make it worth the effort. Remember that you can have a criminal record in your name, whether you were arrested for a DUI or a minor charge.
Regardless of how minimal the charge was, you might find that it costs you a great deal of opportunities and potential finances for the foreseeable future. To help make it even clearer why you should get your records expunged, we have listed some of the most important benefits benefits.
1. Your arrest is no longer a public record
Before we get into any of the other benefits, the biggest benefit of having your records expunged is the fact that your record is no longer available to the public. This means that legally you are allowed not to bring up your arrest in a job interview. Additionally, even though this is not automatic, the mere possibility of liability is often enough to ensure that private companies will remove your information, as well.
2. Easier loans and college grants
If you have a criminal record, chances are that you will have a hard time applying for college grants or getting a loan. Having a criminal record expunged means that you will have a much easier time getting both of these benefits. Then, you can pursue your education with more ease and convenience.
3. Better job opportunities
Whether you consider it fair or not, few employers accept candidates who have past arrest records. Perhaps the primary reason that people seek to expunge their records is that they want to find good paying jobs. Unfortunately, they find that their criminal records makes it virtually impossible for them to do so. Especially now that jobs are at a premium, a thorough background check has become the norm. As a result, if you have your records expunged, you will be able to say "No," the next time a potential employer asks you whether you have ever been convicted of a crime before.
4. Better housing prospects
Unfortunately, employers are not the only individuals who will run a background check before going into business with you. If you want to live somewhere, property owners are going to look at your criminal record history before approving you. In many different states, routine background checks have become the standard.
What the court has to do
If you have your records expunged, the Clerk of Court will have to remove all access to your record. This means that the Clerk of Court will no longer have to provide access to your record, whether it would be available for inspections at the Clerk's office or available for search on the Clerk's website. You can also request a Record History Check after you have your records expunged. This certified letter (which you are able to keep) indicates that no record exists.
What law enforcement must do
The county's Sheriff's Office and arresting agency will have to remove all access to the files that are to be expunged. A case becomes a public record after law enforcement ends an investigation. If you are able to have your records expunged, it means that the agency will have to destroy any physical record of your arrest. If they receive a sealing order, it means that it is no longer a public record, meaning all records have to be made confidential. In both cases, the information cannot be disclosed to third parties.
Get the ball rolling
If you have found the information here interesting and believe in the benefits of having your own records expunged, get a professional criminal defense lawyer to help you take the right steps in doing so. As you can see, the benefits far outweigh the financial costs or lengthy time that it might take.