What is an Expungement?

by Derek Thooft

To “expunge” is to “erase or remove completely.” In law, “expungement” is the process by which a record of criminal conviction is destroyed or sealed from state or federal record. An expungement order directs the court to treat the criminal conviction as if it had never occurred, essentially removing it from a defendant’s criminal record as well as, ideally, the public record. The police, FBI, immigration officers, and other public officials may still see sealed court files for certain purposes.

Expungement is not forgiveness for committing a crime. That is an important clarification. Similarly, pardons are not expungements and do not require removal of a conviction from a criminal record. In the United States, pardons may be granted by public official such as the President or State governors. Expungement proceedings, however, must be ordered by a judge, or court.

Usually, people ask for an expungement when they have been denied a job, housing, or a professional license because of their criminal background.

At Thooft Law, we are happy to walk you through this process. We understand these are personal matters and we want to ensure that you and your family feel confident in the plan you have in place if this were to happen to you. Our team has helped clients in many different situations and can help you, your business, or your family as well. Call us or email ThooftLaw@gmail.com. Check us out on Facebook, Thooft Law, LLC.