In the United States, there is an estimated total of between 70 million and 100 million people who have some type of criminal record. And for many of them, elements of everyday life such as finding an apartment, job, or applying for loans are often very difficult, if not impossible.
But, depending on the charges or convictions on your record and the length of time since your legal trouble began, you may be able to fully or partially clear your criminal record.
Keep in mind that not every kind of charge can be sealed or expunged – violent crimes and murder charges will never be wiped from your record, but those less serious bad choices you made shouldn’t hold you back in life. Here are 4 reasons to consider looking into getting your record expunged…
Most employers will conduct a background check during the hiring process. Many companies have policies in place that can stop you from being hired if you have any kind of criminal record. Even if they don’t have a policy in place, your criminal record could be the deciding factor if they are trying to pick between two equally qualified candidates.
Your credit score isn’t the only thing that banks are looking at when you apply for a loan. A background check is part of the process as well. Some loan agencies and banks think that a criminal conviction is an indication that someone is less likely to meet their financial obligations. That means you may be facing prohibitive interest rates or be unable to get a loan at all.
Looking for a new apartment or home to live in? Homeowners Associations and even private landlords usually conduct background checks on new tenants. While your criminal past may have been just a one-time incident and shouldn’t be a factor in your ability to pay your rent on time, a record can very well be the reason you’re held back from getting that approval.
Some view family as important on the list of things in their life. If a family is important to you, then you may want to think about expunging your record because if it comes down to the custody of your children, you might find a problem. Criminal records can impede on the chances of your having custody rights with your children. If that is something you worry about, consider talking to an attorney about expunging your record.
Non-convictions, which are charges that did not result in a conviction, can be expunged immediately. This includes charges that were “dismissed”, “withdrawn”, or “nolle prossed”. Summary convictions can be expunged if a person has been arrest-free for 5 years following conviction, and all fines and costs have been paid in full.
Additionally, if you completed a diversion program such as ARD, the Small Amount of Marijuana Program, or Section 17, such charges can be expunged. Convictions for those who are 70-years-old and older and have been arrest-free for 10 years can also be expunged. Some juvenile records can be expunged as well.
Criteria for Expungement Eligibility Might Include:
To learn if your criminal record is eligible for expungement, contact our Criminal Defense attorneys at Scartelli Olszewski, P.C. You can reach Rachel or Peter Olszewski at 570-346-2600.