expungement and sealing

Expungement vs. Record Sealing

Expungement in the United States is the legal process by which a person’s criminal record is sealed or destroyed. The terms “expungement” and “record sealing” are often used interchangeably, but they involve different processes. Expungement is the legal process of destroying or removing all records of an arrest or conviction from a person’s criminal history. Record sealing, on the other hand, is the legal process of making a record inaccessible to the public but still available to law enforcement and government agencies.

An expungement is only an option in certain circumstances, such as when a person has been arrested but not convicted, or if they have been convicted of a minor offense. In most cases, people who have been convicted of felonies or serious misdemeanors will not be eligible for expungement.

Record sealing, on the other hand, maybe an option for people with felony or misdemeanor convictions. The process of record sealing can vary from state to state, but in general, it involves petitioning the court and proving that you have been rehabilitated and are not a risk to public safety. If your petition is granted, your criminal record will be sealed and unavailable to the public.

The benefits of expungement include:

  • A clean slate: Once your record is expunged, you can legally say that you have not been convicted of a crime. This can make it easier to get a job, rent an apartment, or obtain other opportunities.
  • Improved employment prospects: Many employers conduct background checks on job applicants. If your record is expunged, it will not show up on most background checks.
  • Relief from collateral consequences: In many states, people with criminal records are not allowed to vote, serve on a jury, or hold certain professional licenses. Expungement can remove these restrictions.

However, in some cases, it may be possible to seal a criminal record. This means that the record will not be accessible to the general public. Sealing of criminal records is typically done in cases where the person has been convicted of a minor crime, or where the person has been rehabilitated and is unlikely to re-offend.

Sealing a Federal Criminal Record

If you have a federal criminal record, it is important to understand the process of sealing your record. Sealing your record can provide many benefits, including making it easier to find employment and housing.

The first step in sealing your federal criminal record is to contact the clerk of court in the district where you were convicted. The clerk of court will provide you with a copy of your criminal history, which you will need to complete the next step.

Next, you will need to file a petition with the court that imposed your sentence. In your petition, you will need to provide information about your conviction and explain why you believe your record should be sealed. Once your petition is filed, a judge will review it and decide whether or not to grant your request.

If you are granted a sealing of your record, this means that your criminal history will not be available to the public. However, your record will still be available to law enforcement and government agencies. Sealing your record can provide many benefits and help you move on with your life.

Sealing Juvenile Records

When a juvenile is arrested in the United States, their records are typically kept confidential. However, there are situations where juvenile records can be unsealed and made public. In some states, sealing juvenile records is automatic after a certain amount of time has passed. In other states, juveniles or their parents may have to petition the court to have records sealed.

There are many reasons why someone might want to seal juvenile records. For example, sealed records can make it easier for juveniles to get jobs or go to college. Sealing records can also help protect juveniles from discrimination or harassment.

If you are interested in sealing your juvenile records, you should contact an attorney in your state for more information. Sealing juvenile records is a complex process, and laws vary from state to state. An experienced attorney can help you understand the process and increase your chances of success.

Expungement Procedures

Expungement is the legal process of destroying or sealing criminal records so that they are no longer accessible to the public. Expungement typically only applies to criminal records, and not civil records such as lawsuits or traffic violations. To have a record expunged, you must petition the court and show that you have been rehabilitated and are worthy of having your record erased.

The first step in expungement is to obtain a copy of your criminal record from the court where your conviction took place. Once you have your record, you will need to fill out an application for expungement and submit it to the court. The court will then review your application and decide whether or not to grant your request. If your request is granted, the court will order the destruction or sealing of your criminal record.

Expungement can be a complex and time-consuming process, so it is important to seek out the help of an experienced attorney if you are considering expunging your record. An attorney can help you navigate the legal process and ensure that your rights are protected. An expungement is an important tool for people with criminal records, as it can help them move on with their lives and obtain employment, housing, and other opportunities.

Expungement is only possible in certain circumstances, and the rules vary from state to state. In general, however, expungement is available to people who have been convicted of a crime but have since completed their sentence and/or fulfilled any other requirements imposed by the court. Expungement and record sealing can both help you move on from your past mistakes and give you a clean slate. However, it’s important to understand the difference between the two processes before you decide which one is right for you. If you are seeking to have your criminal record sealed or expungement, you should consult with an attorney to determine if you are eligible. Expungement and record sealing is a complex legal process, and it is important to have experienced representation.

Information on Expunging Criminal Records in Select States

District of Columbia
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
South Carolina
West Virginia