If you have been convicted of committing a crime, it will show up on your criminal records and/or background check. This conviction can cost you the ability to obtain employment, state licenses, join professional organizations, or even obtain rental housing. No matter how long it has been, the conviction can serve as a black mark on your past that continue to show up at the most inopportune time. The good news is, if you are able to meet certain factors, you may be eligible to get the charge expunged off of your record and regain some of the things that you have lost.
What Is Expungement?
An expungement is a civil court order that decrees that all of the records of your former charge be destroyed or sealed from any type of state or federal review. Once this is completed, you are able to truthfully answer that you have never been convicted of a crime before. The type of charges or former convictions that are eligible to be expunged will vary from state to state.
Are You Eligible?
Your eligibility will depend on the state that you live in, but here are a few things that the court will take into consideration.
- If you were actually convicted of the crime you were charged with
- The seriousness of the crime
- The length of time since the crime was committed
- Other crimes you may have committed
- Any pending charges
- Whether you completed the terms of your court order
Your record can only be expunged in the jurisdiction that you were originally charged in and even after the expungement is completed, there may be additional records of the charge on file in other areas that will reflect the original charge and conviction.
What Charges Cannot Be Expunged?
No matter what state or area you live in, such as Providence, RI, some serious crimes are not eligible for expungement. These include:
- Crimes against children
- Sexual battery
- Certain drug offenses
- Felony weapons charges and more
Although you could possible petition the court on your own to obtain an expungement, you will get the best outcome by enlisting the services of a criminal defense lawyer. They will have the knowledge of whether or not your charges can be expunged, and if so they will have all of the forms and paperwork that you need in order to get the job done. As one of the criminal defense services they provide, they will be able to assist you in the completion of these forms, as well as guide you through the process.