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Can I get a criminal expungement and what are its benefits?

On Behalf of | May 29, 2024 | Criminal Defense

Those who are charged with felonies could have their lives upended in many ways. It can affect their ability to get certain types of employment, harm their chance at getting sufficient housing, limit their educational options and more.

Even those who are charged with lower level crimes can face major challenges.

Often, people want to find ways to clear their record so they can move on with their lives free of the fear that past missteps will continue to haunt them. With that, it is important to understand how a criminal expungement can help them. Knowing who is eligible, how the process works and what positives it entails is the first step.

Understanding expungement

State law allows for expungements in certain situations. A key point to understand with expungements is that it does not destroy the record completely. What it does is remove the record from public access. With that, people who have been granted an expungement need not worry about the record appearing on background checks. However, it can be used by various agencies such as criminal justice and law enforcement.

Since Louisiana is a state that has so many people employed in the maritime industry, a change that was made to the law in 2002 made it important for those who sought this type of employment to get an expungement if it is possible. The Maritime Transportation Safety Act requires workers to have a Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC). Those seeking this identification need to go through a criminal background check. The expungement will benefit them.

Expungements are based on a calculation of public safety vs. the person’s likelihood of committing other offenses. If they are considered a danger, then it could be problematic getting an expungement. The objective is to let people who are not likely to reoffend to move forward in life without the onus of a criminal record following them everywhere.

Crimes of greater severity make it even more important for people to explore the possibility of an expungement. Felonies can also be expunged. It can be expunged after the conviction was set aside and the prosecution dismissed the case. It can also be expunged if the person’s sentence, probation, deferment or parole happened more than 10 years ago and there are no new criminal charges pending. Those who can get a pardon can have their record cleared if the crime was not a violent one or a sex offense.

It is worthwhile to explore an expungement

Many people do not realize that criminal expungements are even an option. They move forward in life dealing with the consequences of actions they were convicted for and paid their debt to society while still facing obstacles because of it. An expungement is a viable option to keep the record from being accessible to the public. Having guidance through the process can be critical to achieving the goal of being expunged.