Having a criminal record can seriously diminish your quality of life. One way to offset the issues that will come from your unfortunate situation is to get the record expunged.
When referring to your “record” nowadays your record is anything anyone can find in a background check. So even if the charges were dismissed or you were found not guilty these records can show up when doing a record check. Just the charges alone can cause your problems with employment, housing and many other areas of your life as described below.
Expungement is a process where the legal record of an arrest or conviction is “sealed”. Sealing the record means that it is erased so that the public can not view it.
Loss of job or trouble getting hired
A tarnished reputation
Child custody disputes
Loss of the right to carry a firearm
Not advancing in your career
Trouble renting a house or apartment
Denial of colleges and student aid
Higher rates for car and personal insurance
Loss of the right to vote
Revocation of professional license
In order to check your criminal record, you will need to contact the Department of Justice or Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension or similar department in your state. Depending on your state, you will have to provide certain documentation and pay a fee.
A person usually needs to fill out an application or prepare a Petition to request an expungement, acquire the correct documentation, and then submit the application to the proper criminal court for a judge's review and decision. The process can get more complicated based on individual cases and the state involved.
Expungements are not guaranteed. So having a lawyer to handle your expungement increases the chances that it will be granted. Your criminal record is not something to gamble with, so getting a lawyer will make sure you are doing everything you can to get a clean record.
Filing and court costs usually range between $100-$400 but can be more based on the case. You will also have to pay to hire an attorney if you choose to get help. This can get expensive but it is worth it if you are now able to obtain employment or advancement because the expungement was granted.
Overall, the expungement process can be stressful, but with the help of a lawyer, you will know you will know you are doing the best you can to get a clean record. It is best to take care of it as fast as possible so that you can set yourself up for success in the future.