How to Get a Warrant Expunged From Your Record
What is expungement?
Expungement is the process of getting a prior criminal conviction sealed or removed permanently from your personal file. The only way to do this in the United States is though the court system. Expungement laws vary by state so you will have to check the laws in the state you were arrested for the options on expungement. Even if a state allows expungement not all records may be eligible. In order to get a record successfully removed you must follow the procedures of the state where you were arrested, even if you are a resident of another state.
What does it mean once I'm granted expungement
If you are granted an expungement, any criminal record that has been expunged will be hidden from public view. The record will no longer show up on background checks and you do not have to disclose this information to anyone even on employment screenings. Basically, you can approach the criminal record and the crime as if it never occurred.
What is the difference between expungement and sealing a record
Sealing a record means the record won't be available to the general public for viewing, but the record still exists on your personal file. All records that are on your personal file will show up on background checks. Sealed records can be unsealed in certain circumstances, so sealing a record isn't permanent like an expungement. While sealing hides the record from public view, expungement removes the record permanently from all channels, and cannot be reversed. Note, that the court system and law enforcement agencies will have access to all expunged and sealed records at any time. Certain states only allow you to seal records and don't grant expungements. Again, it's important to educate yourself on the laws of your state so you know your options.
Reasons why expungement could be denied
If you plan to apply for expungement many factors go into whether or not a judge will grant an expungement. To get an arrest record removed it's imperative to keep a clear record with the law going forward. That means no further arrests or violating probation. You will probably not be eligible for expungement if you have any pending criminal charges, incomplete or violated probation, or have broken the law since your arrest. Also, some crimes aren't eligible to be expunged due to their serious in nature. Each state will decide on an individual basis which records can be expunged. If you want to remove a record you should hire an attorney to aid in this endeavor. A lawyer knows the law and can guide you as to which arrest records are likely to be expunged. A lawyer may advise you not remove some records because they don't benefit you in any way since you could still have to disclose the record in certain situations. Only a lawyer will help you to determine what course of action is best for you.
How to file for expungement
In order to file for an expungement many states require that you gather information about the record you want removed. This includes documents such as the certified disposition of the charge, the arrest record, the arrest warrant, and proof that you completed any court ordered probation or other related programs. This information can be obtained from the police precinct where you were arrested or the court where your case was heard. Note, there are usually fees to obtain certified copies of these documents. Only you can decide if the price is worth it to clear your name.
The chances of expungement being approved depends upon the nature of the crime you were charged with, whether you have any prior convictions, if you're serving parole and many other factors all of which your lawyer can advise you on.
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