What is expungement?
Expungements are a legal process that can clear arrests, charges and minor convictions from someone’s record. Never heard of it? You’re not alone. See, that’s the thing about expungement: many people don’t even know it exists, let alone if they’re eligible, and of those who do, many don’t know how to get it.
Though “expunge” and “seal” are often used interchangeably, but they mean very different things. Expungement is to erase such documents while “sealing” simply means they’re no longer public record.
Am I Eligible to have my record expunged?
The law on who is eligible for either varies state by state, and there is no encompassing federal law on expunging adult crimes. In Ohio, the maximum allowable expungements, according to Ohio law, is one felony and one misdemeanor, or two misdemeanors. However there have been some changes in recent years, so the best way to know if you are eligible for records expungement by contacting a legal professional to review your case.
(Contact Criminal Defense Attorney Terry Sherman)
The difference between record expungement and record sealing.
There are some things you should know about expungements and sealed records. In the age of the Internet, expungement only goes so far. If your record is approved for expungement, the court will agree to toss out its records…but what about Google? How about news archives? Mugshots.com? It’s nearly impossible to expunge information in this cyber age. But that doesn’t mean expungements aren’t still an important step. You can still pare down someone’s record which helps them gain access to employment or housing. It’s vital.
An expunged record can still hurt your chances of landing a job. Beyond doing a simple Internet search, employers often turn to private information providers to run background checks on job candidates. Sometimes companies have downloaded the databases of the courts periodically, and they have them stored on their own databases.
The REDEEM Act.
Congress is considering whether to make more people eligible for expungement. The highly publicized REDEEM Act introduced by Senators Cory Booker, Democrat of New Jersey, and Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky, stands for “Record Expungement Designed to Enhance Employment.” Under the proposal, those convicted of nonviolent federal crimes could apply to have them sealed, and all nonviolent juvenile offenses would automatically be expunged or sealed, depending on age when the crime took place.
While a lawyer is not required, legal expertise can help navigate a complicated process.