Expunging your criminal record can lead to many benefits because it basically erases your record completely. Therefore, you can legitimately tell someone you haven’t been convicted of a crime when you are looking for a job or applying to school. The process can take a few months, and you have to watch out for some mistakes that can easily be made. With that in mind, here are some tips for getting your criminal record expunged.
Find out if your record can be dropped in the first place.
Some misdemeanor and almost all felony charges cannot be dropped from a person’s record. Therefore, it’s worth checking out if your record can be expunged in the first place. You don’t want to go through the entire process only to find out that you did it for nothing. For reference, violent crimes, sexual crimes, and those involving children normally can’t be wiped off a record.
Create a convincing argument for the judge to consider.
In most cases, you will usually have to go in front of a judge to argue your case. Some people will do this to get a certain right back, such as the right to own a firearm or leave the country. It might seem odd, but certain crimes – even minor ones – can result in the loss of various rights. So then, you have to create a good case for yourself in getting the record expunged, even if you aren’t seeking a lost right back. The judge will be the ultimate decision maker on whether or not you get to have a clean record.
Figure out a way to show how you can benefit from an expungement.
As previously stated, you have to convince a judge to expunge your record in many cases. One of the best ways to do so is by showing how a clean record can benefit yourself or others. A judge will be more inclined to delete your criminal record if you can get some benefit out of it. For starters, you could be barred from leaving the country due to a previous crime. You could show the judge that you have family that you want to visit or something like that. As for gun ownership, you could show that you are an avid hunter. Either way, you have to come up with a convincing (and truthful) reason as to why you benefit from a cleared record. A judge won’t do it for no reason.
Watch out for scams from pretend lawyers.
You don’t always need to use a lawyer when seeking out a record expungement. However, many people do choose to at least get legal advice from an attorney. Fortunately, many lawyers offer eligibility checks and minor expungement advice for free. It’s up to you to watch out for scammers that will try to charge you a bunch for their service that results in no benefit to you. For instance, no lawyer or business can guarantee an expungement or make the process go by quicker. Watch out for people that seem to offer an amazing service for a lot of money.
Start the process as early as you possibly can.
For most crimes, you will have to wait a certain amount of time before you can start the expungement process. Without a doubt, you need to start doing the paperwork right away to avoid any issues involving your record. The process can take anywhere from four months to a year or more, depending upon what state you happen to live in. Don’t make the mistake of trying to clean your record quickly, expecting the process to start and finish within weeks. Obviously, that’s just not how the court and legal systems work. Start the expungement process the moment you possibly can.
It’s worth a shot if you have a criminal record.
There are plenty of benefits when it comes to criminal record expungement if you are eligible. For starters, you can get a lost right back or you can get a job that you were previously disqualified from. Either way, expunging your record can be a great achievement. You will have to wait a few months to get a definitive answer from the courts, but you won’t regret going through the process after all is said and done.
For more information, visit How to Expunge an Old Record.