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Expungement: Frequently asked questions


If you already have a criminal record, you may be wondering what options you have. This record could be holding you back in some ways, such as making it harder for you to get a job. You just may want to clear your name so that you can get a completely fresh start.

That said, most people who are considering expungement have never been through the process before. Below are a few questions and answers to help you understand what it is and how it may help.

What is expungement?

Expungement is not a guarantee, but just something that people can seek as an option to clear their record after conviction. You can also have an arrest expunged from your record. This is sometimes preferable because, even if you weren’t convicted, that arrest may stay and could raise red flags later. You know you didn’t do anything wrong, so you want to have it taken off of your permanent record.

What is the difference between a sealed record and an expungement?

You may have heard people talking about having records sealed in connection with getting an expungement. You can tell that these are different tactics, but you’re not entirely sure how. The difference is just in what happens to that record. When it is expunged or erased, that means that it cannot be located again. When it is sealed, that means that it leaves the public record and it wouldn’t come up if a prospective employer ran a background check. But the authorities can still access the non-public version of that record.

Why would this help you?

There are a lot of benefits to expungement. It can open up doors to new careers. It can make it more likely to get a job. You may have less trouble getting lines of credit or different business opportunities. It can make it easier to rent or buy a home. Essentially, it is just a way to truly move beyond the event that happened in the past and to take control of your future. Be sure you know what legal options you have. Contact a criminal defense attorney for help.

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