Expungement is the legal process of sealing a criminal file on a particular individual. While some states do not allow actual physical destruction of the case file, some expunged records are completely destroyed. Sealed records are the alternative, meaning that the conviction record is not publicly accessible. It is important for anyone considering an this kind of request to understand that the court system is reluctant to issue this legal ruling and all rules for qualification must be strictly followed. There is a definite time period before a defendant is eligible. In general cases this time period is usually seven years in most states. States have different standards when dealing with erasing records, but all have common conditions that must be met.
Individual states have latitude in setting their own standards. However, there are several factors that are common in most states. Records are not considered for expungement or sealing until a specified time period has lapsed. During the time period, the defendant can have no other offenses of the same type. Some states require a clean history from the time of the conviction. Also, some states allow for ruling based on felony or misdemeanor status. Previous requests can also exclude eligibility from further conviction sealing, and sexual offenses cannot be considered at all. It is important to understand that each request is evaluated separately for each case, and some convictions will not be subject to sealing. Juvenile records usually qualify automatically in entirety for being blotted out, but the defendant must still petition the court for destruction of the records.
The Application Process
Some states provide conventional applications for expunging records that are qualified. Many misdemeanor level records are expunged regularly, if the state allows. Sealing is acceptable in all states, unless the rules require that an indictment or case has been dismissed before conviction. Some states do not allow the removal of criminal convictions. A defendant can begin the application process in these states, but it is always a good idea to retain an attorney. For example, if you live in Orlando, Florida you would want to find an Orlando criminal defense lawyer who is experienced in expungement law and public record availability. Having an attorney shows a serious concern about the motion and can be a positive, especially during a hearing. Normally, petitioning the court for removal of a record of any kind will result in a hearing to discuss the merits of the request and allow proper adjudication.
Who Should Be Interested?
Criminal histories have a way of following people around, and there are certain employment fields that require maintaining clean histories. Driving histories are included in this group, so anyone that drives commercially in any industry will be interested in expungement. Court records can exclude individuals from employment promotions, as well as employment viability, and many people wish to eliminate criminal remnants associated with an earlier time in their life. This is especially true for someone who has established success in conventional life and wants to protect that status, or individuals concerned with the stigma of an old drug conviction.
Subsequent Criminal History
Candidates requesting the removal of serious crimes from their record can expect a solid evaluation of the petition and scrutiny of each conviction requested for sealing. The best petitioners will have no subsequent criminal history, as required by law in many states. Some states classify offense deletion in case types, such as drug convictions, but are more apprehensive about expunging felonies. It is important to understand that sealing means the public cannot view the record, but the authorities still can access the information. They cannot always act, but they know. It is still part of the individual criminal record. The physical destruction of a conviction record, especially in
three-strike states can make a difference if the petitioner is arrested after the deletion of a similar crime.
Expungement is intended as a privilege of law that allows a fresh start for proven defendants after a negative episode in life. However, the process does have potential for abuse. The court is aware that this situation can often impact public safety, especially in contemporary life. Thus, courts make a point to follow the letter of the law when someone who has been convicted properly is requesting the sealing of the record. Without solid legal representation, especially in serious case convictions, deletion of a crime from the record rarely occurs.
Cara-Marie Taylor is a freelance writer and entrepreneur, a Floridian currently enjoying the lifestyle of Metro-Atlanta. Anyone in Florida seeking more information about legal representation and expungement of a criminal record can contact the Orlando criminal defense lawyer
firm of Katz & Phillips, P.A. They have been defending Florida residents against criminal charges for decades, and know how vital cleaning your criminal record is to you.