Too often in America, we operate with an invisible separation between “us” and “them,” especially when it comes to criminal convictions. We like to think of ourselves as generally good people who may make mistakes from time to time, while we tend to separate ourselves from “them” — the people who are beyond help or trust, even if we are accused and convicted of similar actions.
In reality, anyone can make a mistake, and there are numerous factors that influence the choices that we make and how those choices affect us. Unfortunately, sometimes a mistake from our past comes back to haunt our professional lives. It may even keep someone who is otherwise qualified from obtaining a coveted position or license to practice.
If you find yourself hemmed in by some mark on your permanent record, you may want to consider the benefits of expungement. While it is not always possible to expunge your record, if it is standing between you and your practice, it is well worth exploring.
Is expungement necessary or possible?
If you have a juvenile record from your years as a minor, it is important to understand that this record is not public. While juvenile records may be visible in some legal circumstances, such as providing guidance for sentencing regarding crimes as an adult, employers and licensing boards do not generally have access to this information.
On the other hand, if your record includes a serious crime that resulted in a felony conviction, it is unlikely that you can expunge it. It is also usually impossible to remove public information like mugshots or independent articles about the matter if they are posted online. Before you pursue expungement, it is good to have a clear understanding of whether it is even useful in your circumstances.
Expungement is not repeatable
In most cases, expungement is not something you can do every time you run into trouble. If you do succeed in expunging your record, you usually cannot seek a second expungement later on. Once you understand the limitations of expungement, you can use it more effectively.
Expungement is a complicated, sometimes lengthy process that is difficult to navigate correctly. Make sure that you have all the tools and guidance that you need to define what you want out of expungement and how you plan to get there.
With a strong legal strategy, you can keep your personal rights and priorities safe while you work to move past mistakes from another season of life.