In some states and in certain legal cases, an expungement attorney can help an individual who has completed their sentence for a criminal offense. The lawyer could petition the court for the conviction to be expunged, meaning the offense is removed from the individual's criminal history altogether. The records are destroyed. Another request would be to have the conviction record sealed so no one in the general public can find and read it.

Distinct Advantages

A successful outcome allows the person to have a new beginning without a criminal record that others might access. This can be invaluable when applying for jobs, a mortgage, and vehicle financing. Employers and lenders often view an applicant with a criminal background as higher risk. They worry that this individual might continue to display irresponsible behavior or, worse, commit another crime.

Expungement Restrictions and Requirements

States and jurisdictions vary regarding which offenses can be expunged. A person who wants to have a misdemeanor expunged generally has a better chance than someone trying to eliminate a felony from the record. There are many other restrictions as well. For instance, some jurisdictions prohibit expungement for offenses committed after the person has reached a certain age. 

Requirements also vary regarding how soon an expungement might be granted. The individual must have completed the sentence, and that could include the entire probation or parole time. Some jurisdictions even have further restrictions, such as the sentence having been completed several years before expungement is allowed. Nonetheless, expungement may still be beneficial after that time frame.

The Next-Best Option

An expungement attorney knows whether an offense is allowed to be erased from the record. If not, petitioning the court to have the record sealed is the next best option. Certain law enforcement officials can see the information, but the general public cannot. It will not appear in a criminal background check. As such, the person has peace of mind that nobody can just look up the information online as it is securely hidden.

Why a Lawyer Is Crucial

People are allowed to file a petition for these changes without a lawyer, but any errors made in the complicated procedure could result in a denial. Depending on the jurisdiction, a new petition could not be filed for a specific number of years. That's why it's crucial to hire an attorney to handle this project. Anyone who wants to start this step may contact an expungement lawyer at the earliest convenience. Contact an expungement lawyer for more information.