5 Factors That Impact Criminal Record Expungement

Posted on: 15 August 2023

Expungement effectively erases your criminal record so that it is no longer discoverable by public or private background checks, with the exemption of some government background checks. Unlike sealed records, which achieve similar ends, an expunged record also cannot be used against you in any future criminal proceedings, so it is often preferable over simple record sealing.

1. Age

A major factor in the success of an expungement request is the age you were at the time of the offense. It's often easier to have a record expunged for offenses committed when you were a minor. In fact, it's not uncommon in some areas for certain juvenile offenses to become sealed records after the sentence is completed. It can be more of a challenge to have your record expunged if the offense was committed as an adult. 

2. Location

Expungement laws vary greatly, both by state and by municipal jurisdiction. In some areas, it is only possible to have a record expunged if you were a minor at the time of the offense, or they may only allow expungement for a limited type of offense if it is on your adult record. In these locations, expungement may not be an option but you may still be able to have the record sealed.

3. Offense

Certain offenses are more likely to be eligible for expungement compared to others. Non-violent crimes or so-called victimless crimes, for example, may be eligible for expungement while violent or high-dollar crimes may be ineligible. A history of repeat offenses may also mean that expungement is not an option unless there were extenuating circumstances, such as a drug addiction or chronic homelessness, that are no longer in play.

4. Outcome

Not all criminal history on a background check is from actual convictions. Simply being arrested for a crime, even if you were never convicted, can show up on records. It's often easier to expunge arrest records rather than actual convictions. This doesn't mean that it is necessarily impossible to have your record expunged if you were convicted, though, so it is best to consult with a lawyer. 

5. History

Those with a long criminal record are less likely to qualify for an expungement compared to those that only have one or two offenses that occurred in close proximity to each other. Personal history may also affect the outcome. For example, if the offenses were drug-related and you are not actively in recovery, then it may be more difficult to qualify for expungement. 

Contact a local law firm, such as Baber & Baber, P.C. Attorneys at Law, to learn more about the possibility of criminal record expungement.  


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