An expungement is an important process for those with criminal charges to understand because it can potentially help with the burdens associated with them. The expungement process, also referred to as expunction, typically means that the court seals or erases an arrest or a conviction from an individual’s court record.
What the expungement process is based on
The expungement process can vary by jurisdiction so individuals interested in seeking an expungement should understand the process where their criminal record is located. Some factors that can impact the availability of expunction can include:
- The type of offense: Repeat and more serious criminal offenses can be more difficult to have expunged or sealed. Additionally, sometimes only misdemeanors can be expunged but not felony charges. In some jurisdictions eligibility for the expungement process may only apply to non-violent offenses.
- Age: The age of the individual may also be a factor considered in the expungement process. It may be more likely that a juvenile is granted an expungement so they can have a fresh start. Not all juvenile charges may be eligible for expunction.
- Outcome of the criminal case: The availability of expungement can depend on the outcome of their case such as if they were simply arrested or if they were convicted of criminal charges. An arrest record may be more likely to be expunged than a conviction.
Overall, eligibility for an expunction can depend on the location of the offense, the type of offense and if the accused individual has any subsequent or previous offenses. There are a variety of different criminal defense options and rights available throughout the criminal justice process, including the possibility of expungement, that accused individuals should be aware of.