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What is expungement and how can it help me?

Expungement is a process that can help individuals who are involved in the criminal justice system and may be something they have heard of but do not fully understand. Accused individuals may wonder what expungement refers to and how it can help him. Even an arrest record can create a criminal record and a variety of problems for an accused individual to contend with and, in some circumstances, expungement may be able to help.

Expungement is a legal process that allows the legal record of an arrest or criminal conviction to be sealed or, in other words, erased in the eyes of the law. The process, also referred to as setting aside a criminal conviction, can vary by state so it is important to be familiar with what the procedure is in your state if you are seeking an expungement of your criminal record. Various factors may determine eligibility for expungement including where the expunction is sought; the nature of the charge or crime; the amount of time that has elapsed since their arrest or conviction; and the individual's criminal history.

Following the completion of the process, the individual who has received the expunction is not ordinarily required to disclose the arrest or conviction in response to inquiries that might ordinarily solicit that information. In addition, it can be important to note that in most circumstances, no record of an expunged arrest or conviction will appear on any background search of the individual's criminal record or inspection of public records conducted by a potential employer, educational institution or other party conducting a search of that nature. The records may still be accessible by government authorities and law enforcement may still have access to them in certain circumstances.

Expungement is an important process that is available through the criminal justice process and is something that individuals involved in the criminal justice system should be familiar with. The criminal justice system provides a number of important rights to accused individuals so it is essential they are familiar with what they are and how to use them.

Source: Criminal.findlaw.com, "Expungement Basics," Accessed Nov. 1, 2017

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