A criminal conviction can change your life. Even a misdemeanor offense, such as a first-time DUI, can leave the defendant dealing with expensive fines, difficulty finding employment, and the unfair social stigma associated with a conviction.
In the United States, individuals who prior criminal offenses can seek an "expungement," a court-ordered process that officially seals the individual's criminal record. Practically speaking, an expungement erases the crime from your legal history. In the eyes of the law, your record is clean.
Under certain circumstances, government agencies may be able to view expunged offenses, but most situations, the individual is not obligated to disclose this information. This includes:
- Job Applications
- Apartment Applications
- Home Loan Application
Generally speaking, a DUI or prior criminal offense could influence your ability to obtain certain forms of employment or a home loan. In some cases, applications for apartment rentals require this information as well. If your record is expunged, though, you are not required to provide information regarding your prior offense on the application.
"Do I need an attorney for the expungement process?"
An expungement is a valuable legal tool for individuals who want to escape the repercussions of a past criminal offense. Without the help of an attorney, though, you may have difficultly actually getting your charge erased. To begin the expungement process, you must fill out an application (petition) and submit to the correct court, where a judge will review your information. This application is usually accompanied by a fee.
Depending on the circumstances surrounding your case, you may be required to attend a court hearing for your expungement. If you are considering an expungement, speak with a criminal defense attorney from Hager & Schwartz, P.A. today. We are available to talk about your case at any time, including days, nights, and weekends.