Misdemeanor Guide

Expunging a Misdemeanor

Considering all of the benefits of having your record expunged, it really is worth the time and effort. Your record follows you indefinitely and can affect your ability to obtain employment, loans and even a place to live. Every state's rules, regulations and time frames vary so you will want to determine what those are for your particular conviction.

In most cases as long as you are not currently on probation for another offense or you are not awaiting charges for another offense you would be enabled the right to request to have your criminal record expunged. Keep in mind that most courts do have a minimum time frame that you should have "kept your nose clean." For instance, some areas require that you be off probation with no other infractions (other than minor traffic violations) for five years.

First steps
The first step will be to contact your local court house where the charges were filed and request the paperwork to start the process of an expungement. Many court houses have an online resource on there websites where you can find the forms electronically. Once you complete the forms and mail them back in you will have to wait anywhere from two week to four months.

The courts will mail or email you a court date, so make sure to watch for this and schedule it on your calendar. When you are at your court hearing you will be able to present your written or verbal explanation to the judge as to why they should expunge your record. From here it will either be approved or denied. If you are denied an expungement in most states you have the ability to start an appeal process.

What does expungement really mean?
There is a myth that once your criminal record is expunged it is wiped away from your record forever; this is not true. When you are approved to have your records expunged your records are sealed and are no longer public record. In extenuating circumstances law enforcement agencies are able to have your records unsealed. Howver, having your records expunged will make a huge difference in your day to day life.

Once expunged your criminal convictions will not appear to the public and you can honestly tell employers you were not convicted of a crime. There are some professional licenses you will now be able to put an application in for and you can stop fearing having back ground checks run on you; your convictions will no longer show.

Talk to an attorney
Remember most attorneys will offer a free consultation. In order to expedite what can be a long process it is recommended to obtain professional help from an attorney or legal aid. You want to find someone who is knowledgeable in your type of case and actively works on defending cases to expunge records.

If you are faced with having convictions from past crimes it is your right to request a hearing to have your records expunged. Everyone makes mistakes, it comes down to what you learned from your experience and the choices you choose to make from here on out. Just because you made a bad choice does not mean you are a bad person. It is your right and you deserve to have your record expunged.

See also:
Expungement lawyers
Expunged misdemeanor