If you've ever been convicted of a crime, it's likely that you've wondered how this will effect your future. The fact is, a criminal conviction can affect a number of things in your life, including employment options and educational advancement as well as how you're perceived by society as a whole. If you're considering petitioning for expungement, it's important to know all the facts. Below are three common myths associated with expungement and the truths behind them.
Myth #1: All First Time Offenses are Eligible for Expungement
While many individuals with first time offenses have luck when it comes to applying for and receiving expungement, there are certain crimes which can never be expunged, even if the individual has a previously clean record.
Expungement requirements vary from state to state, but under normal circumstances, violent felonies are not eligible for expungement. In stricter states, such as Alaska and Idaho, even a non-violent misdemeanor may not be eligible for expungement if you were convicted. Some states allow expungement of arrest records or charges, as long as you weren't convicted, while others keep all arrests and charges brought against you on record, even if it was a first offense.
Myth #2: Expungement Can Take Place Automatically After a Period of Time
You should never assume that your record will be expunged automatically, even if later found innocent. As a general rule, if you were charged or convicted of a crime, expungement must be applied for by the charged or convicted individual in order to be considered.
The outcome of your petition for expungement will depend on the state you're petitioning to, and the process of expungement can vary from state to state as well. No matter what state you're in, you'll first prepare a document known as a petition. While these petitions can be filled out without the help of an attorney, a criminal law attorney can certainly help you through the process and ensure your petition goes through as smoothly as possible.
Myth #3: An Expungement Results in a Clean Record
Before petitioning for expungement, it's important to understand what expungement can do for you. When expungement is granted, your files will be erased from the majority of databases, such as the ones used by landlords and employers. It isn't, however, wiped from existence.
The public good is always considered when determining whether your record will be available or not. This is true for many jobs within the government sector, as well as for occupations that are more sensitive in nature, such as police officer or school teacher. While this can be disheartening for those interested in such occupations, there are still many benefits to filing for expungement and you may want to consult a criminal law attorney before deciding that filing isn't right for you.
The process of expungement is fairly complicated which is why it doesn't hurt to have an experienced individual on your side. With the help of a criminal law attorney, such as Sam Douglas Young Attorney at Law, you can learn about the benefits of expungement, whether you qualify, and what steps should be taken next. To learn more, set up a consultation with an attorney experienced in expungement.