It is difficult to move on when you have a criminal record. It will always show on background checks even if you are simply looking for a space to rent. While the law gives a second chance to people convicted of a criminal offense, it still is not for everyone. The requirements for criminal record expungement are different from one state to another and are greatly dependent on the severity of the crime committed.
Severity of Crime vs. Expungement
The severity of a crime is a huge determining factor whether a criminal record qualifies for expunction. Infractions may be minor offenses, but they would still appear on your record. These types are usually easier to expunge, unlike misdemeanors. This can be truer if the person has committed a misdemeanor on more than one occasion.
There are also instances when a misdemeanor is lifted to a felony crime, like a petty theft becoming larceny when the amount of property stolen has reached more than $500. Instances like these could blow away your one chance. For serious felonies and repeat offenders who have faced sentencing twice, there is likely no chance for expunction.
Statutes of Limitations
David A. Nachtigall recommends checking your state’s statute of limitations or ask for help from a criminal lawyer in Houston or wherever you live before filing for anything. You must be free of any more convictions since the completion of your probation before you qualify for expunction.
Most states do not allow expunction if you have been a repeat offender and have faced sentencing twice, or have been imprisoned. There are special considerations given to selected individuals who have shown remarkable improvement, however. This includes being clear of any other offenses and violations for a very long time.
Classifications of Crimes
Knowing the different types of crimes will give you a better understanding as to how criminal record expungement works. Crimes are classified based on severity. The least serious ones are classified as infractions and are only punishable by fines and tickets.
Misdemeanors, on the other hand, are crimes that are more serious than infractions. Crimes of this type are punishable by fines and jail time, which does not take longer than 12 months. Felonies are the most serious and are punishable by bigger fines and/or jail time of more than one year. The most serious types of felony, or those rated Class A, are punishable by life imprisonment or death penalty.
Expunging a criminal record is a great way for law offenders to clean up their records and start again. It may mean a waste of time, however, if you have committed a serious crime or have been a repeat offender. Timing your filing is also one way to qualify for expunction.