If you have a criminal record, chances are you have thought about what it might take to achieve a clean slate. While this is not possible for some crimes, it may be for others through criminal expungement. While expungement proceedings certainly have some benefits if you want to clear your name and your public record, some myths about this process may be holding you back in ways you don’t even realize.
Criminal Defense Attorney Brian P. Gabriel has helped clients seeking expungement navigate the process to get their desired outcome.
Four Expungement Myths
Understanding how expungement can be effective is essential to determining whether or not to undergo the process of seeking one. Consider four expungement myths that you may not have realized are holding you back.
Myth 1: Expungement Means a Clean Background Check
Public records databases are comprehensive and constantly changing based on various case updates, including expungement. A background check may turn up information about your criminal record if the expungement has not yet been entered into the system or if the process is not yet complete. This should not be a deterrent to expunging your record, though.
Some laws can protect your rights if an employer or landlord tries to deny you based on your record. If you know that expungement does not automatically mean a clean background check, you can be prepared to counter.
Myth 2: Your Record Is Automatically Expunged After Time Has Passed
One common myth about expungement is that the process happens automatically after five to 10 years. However, the passage of time has no bearing on your criminal record. The time that has passed since a conviction may help with expungement or may play a role in the significance of the crime concerning a background check. However, unless you actively pursue an expungement, details of the crime and subsequent conviction remain on your public record permanently.
Myth 3: Felonies Can’t Be Expunged
The misplaced belief that felonies cannot be expunged has held many people back from pursuing something that could be life-changing. Non-violent felonies are typically eligible for expungement if at least 10 years have passed since the crime, the person has no prior convictions, and no other charges are pending. The charge also must have been dismissed because of a delayed sentence, deferred judgment, or full pardon.
The only way a violent felony is eligible is if you have been exonerated by the court through an innocent finding or an appeals court has reversed any prior conviction, resulting in a dismissal of charges.
Myth 4: It’s Too Late to File An Expungement
Another persistent expungement myth is that it is too late to remedy a criminal record with an expungement when too much time has passed. It never hurts to at least check to determine eligibility. Working with an experienced criminal defense lawyer like Brian P. Gabriel is critical to navigating this complicated process successfully.
Seek Expungement Guidance from a Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you think an expungement might help you despite some of the complexities of seeking and achieving one, work with a lawyer with an extensive background in this area of law. Criminal Defense Attorney Brian P. Gabriel has spent more than 30 years helping those with criminal records determine if expungement was the right path for their needs. He will handle your case using all the knowledge and skill developed over the span of his career.