Criminal Expungements: Sealing a Criminal Record

Criminal Expungements: Sealing a Criminal Record

| Jul 7, 2020 | Criminal Defense

Criminal Expungements

Everyone makes mistakes and the law recognizes that by allowing expungements for common crimes. Expungements could mean a fresh start, a new career change, or being able to rent. At Thooft Law, we believe everyone deserves a second chance, and our success rate reflects that.

What is an expungement?

An expungement is the court process in which a you ask a judge to seal a criminal conviction from public view. Expungement does NOT destroy the conviction; the police, FBI, immigration officers, and other public officials may still see sealed court files for certain purposes. In general, an expungement order treats the conviction as if it had never occurred and removes it from public record. For example, an employer would no longer be able to see that conviction if they performed a background check. Expungements are not pardons.

How will an expungement improve my life?

Once successfully expunged, your conviction will be hidden from public view. This could improve your life in numerous ways, such as:

  • Ability to legally own a firearm;
  • Ability to seek certain professions or gainful employment;
  • Ability to rent;
  • Ability to be included in activities that require a successful passing of a background check, such as chaperoning on your child’s school field trip;
  • And more.

What is the limitation of an expungement?

The United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit said, “An expungement order does not privatize criminal activity.” Nilson v. Layton City, 45 F.3d 369 (10th Cir. 1995). A successful expungement does not remove records of your crime when it comes to the news, social media, search engines, etc. Any records of the conviction that exists outside of the courts, will not disappear. This is an important distinction especially since today’s employers do conduct Google and social media searches.

What kind of crimes are good for expungement?

In general, most common crimes are eligible for expungement. However, there are no current expungement pathway available for federal felonies.

Who can object to my expungement?

Any agency that has a record of your crime, such as the sheriff’s office, can object to your expungement. After the expungement process beings, every agency will receive a copy of your petition to expunge. They will have a certain amount of time to object.

Will I have to go to court?

Yes, most likely. A judge will ultimately decide whether to grant or deny the expungement. Each judge will weigh the pros and cons of making your record unavailable to the public. As judges are human, their decisions will vary from one to another. In limited circumstances a court appearance will not be required.

How much does an expungement cost?

The cost of an expungement varies from person to person. In general, it can cost anywhere from $1,000 – $3,000 dollars including court costs and service fees and take between four months to a year.

Why should I use Thooft Law for my expungement?

At Thooft Law we understand the positive effects a successful expungement can have for a person and take the time to fully advocate for our clients and their families. We believe in the people we represent and it shows on paper, in person, and in court.

For a free expungement consultation, call or email Thooft Law at 651-485-1254 or [email protected]