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What Is A Criminal Record Expungement And Why Should You Get One

You may have heard of criminal record expungement when it comes to young kids and teenagers, but they're not the only ones who can benefit from an expungement. Not all crimes will be eligible to be expunged, but that's something you should always look into, just in case you're eligible.

What Is a Criminal Record Expungement?

A criminal record expungement occurs when you request your criminal records to be sealed from the public. An important thing to note is that law enforcement and the government can still access an expunged record. However, the general public will not be able to access the record. 

Crimes Eligible to Be Expunged

When requesting a record to be expunged, you must first make sure that the offense is eligible. The offenses that are eligible vary from state to state. 

The most common eligible offenses can include:

  • Nonviolent crimes
  • Low-level misdemeanor
  • Dropped charges
  • Arrest records
  • Juvenile offenses

Most states do not allow felonies to be expunged, but there are a few states that will, depending on the type of crime the felony is. 

Crimes Not Eligible to Be Expunged

While some states do allow some felonies to be expunged, there are a few felonies that no state will expunge from your record. 

Those crimes include:

  • Rape
  • Murder
  • Assault with a deadly weapon (e.g. gun, bat, large rock, etc)
  • Arson
  • Terrorism

A good rule of thumb is if your crime had a victim, it most likely will not be eligible to be expunged from your criminal record.

Reasons to Request a Criminal Record Expungement

Having a criminal record can prevent people from being able to obtain certain things.

Common things that are harder to get with a criminal record include:

  • Housing
  • Education
  • Job
  • Job-related licenses

Unfortunately, there are times when you apply for a job or housing, and the person in charge of approving those things can't always see past the criminal record. Criminal record expungements are very beneficial for people with juvenile records. Many people make mistakes as kids, but only those with criminal records are judged for those mistakes well into adulthood. 

Cost of Criminal Record Expungements

Filing for a criminal record expungement does have a fee that can vary based on the county or state you live in. It is possible to get this fee waived if you have a low income. You may also need to foot the cost of an attorney to help you through the process. An attorney is not necessary for the process but can be helpful if it's difficult. 

For more information about criminal record expungement, contact an attorney in your area.