Define: Record Sealing or Expungement
Record sealing is the process of getting one’s criminal record sealed, which erases the record and suppresses it from public view. It is a method used by those who have been convicted of a crime in order to have their criminal records expunged. In some instances, you may only be allowed to seal your juvenile record if you are over 18 years old. The record sealing process can be difficult and confusing, but if you are within a month of the court’s cutoff, there may still be some possibilities for you.
When a case is sent to the district court, it is only heard by the judge. The judge decides whether or not to seal the record. If he does, you will receive notice from the clerk of the circuit court with instructions on how to request that your record be sealed. If the judge denies your case, you will receive a notice from the court telling you of the decision. If your record is sealed, depending on your age and the nature of the underlying charges, it may not be sealed if you get into further trouble with the law. When this happens, there is no one to appeal to for help. Unless it is to seal a juvenile record, there are no attorneys available to do this type of work pro bono.
What is Record Sealing or Expungement?
Record sealing or expungement means to physically remove or make an invisible part of an arrest, charge, trial, or conviction from public view. This legal term usually refers to the process of getting one’s criminal record sealed. There are various reasons for people to want their criminal records sealed. People who have been arrested but not tried in court may want a clean record so that they can get a job and move on with their lives.
In some instances, however, a person may only be allowed to seal or expunge the records of juvenile charges if they are over 18 years old. This is usually only possible if the charges are relatively minor. If a person gets into trouble with the law later on and wants to have their record sealed or expunged, they may not be able to do this after all.
How is Record Sealing Different from Expungement?
Record sealing and expungement are different from other methods of cleaning a record, like juvenile expunctions. With a juvenile expunction, the records of an arrest or conviction are removed from public view, but the arrest or conviction is not actually changed. A person can look up the offense and learn that it happened. Expunctions can be removed from public view if a person gets into trouble with the law again, but this usually depends on this new offense being a more serious crime.
Expungement is different in that the criminal record is physically removed or erased by a judge. This makes it possible for most people with an expunged criminal record to legally deny that they were ever convicted of a crime. When a person has a criminal record sealed, the record is physically removed, and there is no one who can see it or tell whether a person was really convicted of the charge.
Eligibility for Record Sealing or Expungement:
In order to have a criminal record sealed or expunged, there are certain conditions that must be met. For example, if a person has been arrested but not convicted of a crime, they must have pleaded not guilty in order to be eligible for sealing. The judge must also approve of the application and agree that the applicant’s case meets the criteria required by law. In some instances, there may be other requirements. For example, the judge may require an applicant to complete a legal program before proceeding with the application.
The Future of Record Sealing or Expungement:
In the courts, there are many people who have been arrested but not found guilty of committing a crime. In order to help these people get on with their lives, it is possible to get a record sealed and erase any arrest warrants or pending charges. This is a way for those who want to be able to deny that they were ever arrested or tried for a crime.
When the law was passed, many people believed that criminal records should not be had. However, as the years have gone on, there has become more and more interest in having these records sealed. There are many people who have had difficulties and have been unable to move on in life because they are still dealing with a background they wish would disappear. Sealing criminal records is a way for them to do this.
If you have questions or want to learn more about sealing your records, refer to this link to set up a consultation with an experienced criminal defense lawyer that focuses on expungements.
In many instances, there are some important factors to keep in mind. For example, if an individual was ever convicted of a charge, they may be able to get their records sealed if the law has changed since they were charged and the judge agrees that their case fits the new laws. People with criminal records may not want to disclose that they have had trouble with the law in the past. However, this is sometimes necessary when applying for certain jobs or when entering into certain professional organizations.
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