Having a criminal record can be a lifelong burden on someone. But it’s not a life sentence like many people think. In fact, there are multiple ways to clear your criminal record and move forward with a clean slate.
In most cases, all it takes to wipe your criminal record clean in America is a little bit of money and a few phone calls or government office visits. Today, we’re explaining how to wipe your criminal record clean.
Buying An Expungement
“Expungement” is the legal term for clearing a criminal record. In most states across America, an expungement costs $150 or less. Some states – including Tennessee – charge as much as $450 for an expungement.
Fortunately, some states offer an expungement fee waiver if the applicant is too poor to pay.
In any case, after you apply for expungement and are successful, your criminal record is sealed, which makes your criminal record difficult (or even impossible) for most people to access.
The laws between states vary widely. Some states hardly have a practical expungement law, while other states make it relatively easy to wipe your criminal record clean.
Who Is Eligible For Expungement?
An expungement gives you a fresh start. If you want a successful future, then expungement is almost a necessity. People with criminal records often struggle to get jobs, mortgages, loans, or even an education.
Start by finding the court website for your state and checking the criminal court in your county or with the law enforcement agency that handled your arrest. They’ll be able to answer any questions you might have about expunging your criminal record.
Some of the restrictions on expungement include:
-Not all offenses are eligible for expungement. For example, most states allow you to expunge arrests and misdemeanor convictions and other offenses deemed minor. But you’re not going to sweep a triple murder (or any other felony conviction) under the rug anytime soon.
-You may have to wait a certain length of time for expungement. You can’t commit a crime then apply for expungement the next day. Many state laws require you to wait until you have finished serving your sentence before you apply for expungement (typically, this includes your probationary period). In some cases (like if there’s a good reason to do so), a judge may reduce your probation to reduce the length of time you have to wait for expungement.
-Attorneys aren’t always required. Most states simply require you to fill out a form that says some version of “Motion of Expungement.” If that initial application doesn’t go through, then you may wish to hire an attorney.
-Expungement doesn’t erase a criminal record. Expunging a criminal record isn’t like pressing a delete button. Most criminal records are never truly deleted. For example, law enforcement agencies may be able to check your expunged criminal record in the future, and it may still show up on some searches.
Consider Getting A Certificate Of Actual Innocence
There’s getting your criminal record expunged, and then there’s getting a “Certificate of Actual Innocence”. This is considered the most powerful form of expungement.
This certificate doesn’t just seal your criminal record: it states that your criminal record should never have existed in the first place. If you were convicted of a crime, but charges were later dropped, then you may wish to apply for a Certificate of Actual Innocence to ensure future employers – or whoever – knows that you are factually innocent of the crime in the eyes of the law.
Juvenile And Drug Offenses Are The Two Most Commonly Expunged Criminal Records
If you murdered someone, you’re not getting that record expunged anytime soon. However, if you committed a drug offense, or committed a crime as a juvenile, then you have a decent chance of having your record expunged.
Many states require drug offenders to go through a diversion program. After completing that program, you can apply to have your drug offenses expunged from your record.
Juvenile offenders, on the other hand, typically have the easiest time getting their criminal records expunged or sealed. You can apply for expungement once you turn 18 (assuming you’ve stayed out of trouble with the law for the remainder of your juvenile years).
Check Your Criminal Record Today
Have you been turned down for jobs, loans, schools, and other opportunities? You may have a criminal record. Many people are surprised what appears on their criminal record – including everything from past misdemeanors to charges that were dropped.
Check your criminal record today to make sure you know exactly what employers see when they search your name.
Or, if you’ve already applied for expungement, run a criminal background check on yourself to make sure the expungement actually worked.
Ultimately, there are multiple ways to expunge a criminal record and wipe the slate clean. To find out what surprises may lurk on your criminal record, check yours today right here at CheckCriminalRecord.com