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The Courthouse and your rights

Having a criminal record, even a record of arrest in which you ultimately were not convicted, can make it difficult to get a job, buy a home or even rent an apartment. If you can have your record expunged, you will have a clean record. With the exception of just a few things, such as security clearances, you should then have no problem when you apply for a job.

The process for having your criminal record expunged is different in every state. This is why it is important to know your state’s process; it is also a good idea to hire an attorney to represent you.

Every state has different requirements to determine who is eligible for expungement. The process is designed for people who it is thought will not re-offend. Here are some of the conditions under which you may be eligible to have your records expunged:

  • Having a drug offense
  • Being a first-time offender
  • Being a juvenile at the time of conviction
  • Having an arrest or misdemeanor conviction, as opposed to a felony conviction
  • Going a year without further offenses
  • Having already served the sentence

In certain cases, defense attorneys will work with prosecutors regarding future expungement. For instance, the prosecutor may set requirements for the defendant to meet, and if those obligations are met, the record will be expunged.

Every situation is different so you may want to speak with someone at your county courthouse to find out if you’re eligible to have your record expunged. You can also visit your state’s website, but talking with someone will be more helpful. Then you’ll know whether or not to hire an attorney.

While you may file the petition on your own behalf, it is a good idea to have an attorney represent you. There is a lot of paperwork, and if you have a hearing, your lawyer will speak on your behalf. Even a case that seems straightforward can have complications.

If you think you might be eligible to have a record expunged, consult our Online Legal Directory and find a lawyer in your area to handle your case.

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