A prior criminal record can haunt you for years, making it difficult to get a job, obtain credit, or find a decent place to live. Under certain circumstances, however, you can expunge a prior arrest or conviction, so that, for all practical purposes, it no longer exists.
Though the specific rules vary from state to state, the determination of eligibility usually involves two principal questions:
Though an attorney can help tremendously in the expungement process, hiring one is not mandatory in most states. You may be able to obtain the necessary forms and complete them yourself.
It is important to know that, even though you may succeed in your expungement efforts, your conviction or arrest may still be found by a licensing board or law enforcement department at some point in the future.
Some states will allow you to obtain a certificate of innocence. This is a document issued by the court indicating that you were convicted and imprisoned for a crime you did not commit. If you successfully obtain a certificate of innocence, it is seldom difficult to get the criminal record expunged.
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