If you have a criminal arrest or conviction on your record, it will impact your future and the goals you have set for yourself. However, you may be eligible to have your criminal record expunged. If so, you can go on with your life as though your brush with the law had never happened.
You will be eligible for record expungement if the criminal charges against you have been dismissed and you have not been found guilty of another crime. Your record will be physically destroyed. Although law enforcement keeps one copy, the public never knows about it.
About background checks
Technology makes background checks easy to perform, and they are often requested by potential employers or landlords. You may be subjected to a background check if you are applying for admission to a college or are considering buying a car. The decision-makers will be able to access your personal history, and your criminal record will be visible for anyone to see. However, expungement will wipe the slate clean; no criminal activity will turn up. If asked whether you were ever arrested or convicted of a crime, you can truthfully answer “no.”
Meeting the criteria
To be eligible for having your record expunged, you will have to meet certain conditions:
- You were either found “not guilty,” you were acquitted following a trial or the criminal proceedings were dismissed.
- You were released before the filing of criminal proceedings.
- You met the required waiting period before requesting expungement.
- You paid all required fines or restitution.
- No pending charges against you exist.
- You completed all diversion, education or community service programs required.
- Your completed your probation.
Having a criminal record can do a great deal of damage to your life. Having that record expunged means that it will no longer be available to anyone anywhere. Your life will be your own again, and you can continue with plans for a bright future.