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Expungement Explained

Sometimes researching your legal options can be a frustrating experience. Legal statutes are difficult to read and sometimes make little sense. Advice from non-lawyer sources is difficult to trust or use because the law is different for each state. This means that there are 50 different bodies of law out there, plus any statutes that might apply from the federal government. Add in the fact that, in some states, the expungement process is different for every county and you have a very confusing situation.

On this page, you will find very basic and general information about what expungement seeks to do and how it can help you move past a criminal record.

What Expungement means, Legally

Many states have noticed that it is difficult if not impossible for people with criminal records to get a fair shake at moving on with their lives and the lives of their families. These states have pursued the public policy of removing some crimes from consideration by the public, including employers and licensing agencies. The result is the expungement process.

In some states, your conviction may remain but no one is allowed to access the record. You are often NOT required to admit that the conviction or even arrest ever took place. In other states, the expungement process re-opens your criminal case, dismisses the conviction, closes your case, and seals the record. At this point, you are no longer a convicted person, since the conviction no longer exists.

Since the laws of each state are different, the best way to be sure of all your legal options is to take the free eligibility test available below or select your state from the following:

Free Eligibility Test from RecordGone.com

What Expungement means to you

By having a record expunged, a person previously convicted of a crime greatly limits the number of people with access to that information. Getting an order of expunction avoids a situation where an employer might unjustly exclude a person convicted of a crime. Employers who are concerned about potential tort liability based on the hiring of an employee can often make an argument that the exclusion of a person based on his or her arrest or conviction record is in-line with a business necessity. Disputing an employer’s justification is a time-consuming process that necessitates an attorney specializing in employment and labor disputes. Simply expunging one’s record removes many practical and legal hurdles standing between a job applicant and a new career, avoiding further legal headaches down the line.

Usually, most employers may not use an expunged record and should not be able to even locate it. A person who has had his or her record expunged typically does not have to disclose the fact that the arrest or conviction occurred, although the law is different for each state. In many states, records that have been expunged are deemed not to have occurred. This means you can answer questions like "Have you ever been convicted of a crime?" with a confident "No!"

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