Mistakes people make in their youth should not always have to follow them into their adult life. However, in regard to certain criminal charges, that can often be the case.
Thankfully, it may be possible for parties to clear their criminal records. There are a few important things to understand about this process.
The option of clearing a criminal record may not be available to all parties. In some cases, it may be more feasible to pursue the sealing of a record. On the other hand, there are certain instances when it may be possible to have a charge completely removed from a record. The main requirements are that the charge is nonviolent and that it be several years old. For example, a DUI charge that did not result in the harm of others and is over 10 years old may qualify for expungement. While these aspects can help to narrow down the possibilities of an expungement, they are not the only determining factors. It may be beneficial to consult with a knowledgeable professional to learn all the available options for specific criminal charges.
It is important to understand that expungement and sealing are two different events. While an expungement removes a charge from a party's record, a seal does not. However, the seal may prevent certain parties from viewing or discovering the past charges. In many cases after a seal, the charges are only viewable by certain government departments.
In order to start the expungement process, a party must submit a request for a hearing with the proper fees and any requested supporting documents. The court then sets a hearing date, and at the hearing, the requesting party receives an opportunity to argue the case. The court then decides whether to grant the request.
While understanding these aspects can help parties get on the right track, there is additional information that may be pertinent to certain cases. Therefore, consulting with a knowledgeable professional may be quite helpful before filing for an expungement or sealing.