You may have heard or even used the phrase, ”wipe the slate clean,” in reference to starting afresh, restoring a relationship or moving on in life after a difficult situation. There is a legal term that has a similar meaning in the criminal justice system. It is ”expungement,” which has helped many people clear their records or seal a past criminal conviction.
If you have a criminal record, it can be an impediment to achieving certain goals, such as renting an apartment or applying for a new job. A landlord or prospective employer who runs a background check might be hesitant to enter a contract with you because of your criminal record. When the court grants an expungement, your past conviction or criminal charges are no longer available to the general public.
Facts to know about criminal expungement
A court typically only grants expungement under certain conditions. The crime for which you were convicted, for instance, must be a minor offense and typically a first offense. If you were a juvenile at the time of your conviction, it also increases your chances for having your record expunged. If you have multiple past criminal convictions on your record, it is less likely that a judge will expunge more than one conviction.
In some circumstances, there is a waiting period before you can be eligible for expungement. Sometimes, however, you may file a petition right away, such as if the court dismissed the charges against you. If you were convicted of a drug crime, you may have to wait a full year before requesting that your record be sealed. By requesting a meeting at the Law Office of Blair R. Zwillman, in New Jersey, you can learn more about the expungement process and determine whether or not you are eligible.