How Does Expungement Work: An Inmate Guide on Life After Jail

How Does Expungement Work: An Inmate Guide on Life After Jail

There are many reasons why someone might want to get their arrest record expunged. From discrimination in housing to jeopardizing job opportunities, having a public arrest record can impact a person's future. Expungement is an opportunity for these records to be sealed from public view. 

For those who are looking to take a new step forward to a brighter future, expunging arrest records can help with this. Though it doesn't completely get rid of the records altogether, you can enjoy a greater deal of privacy. If you are interested in an arrest record, we'll discuss the basics of the process.

What Is Expungement?

When inmates are released from jail, they'll have to worry about their public records. This record shows their previous convictions and can be accessed by anyone. So, former inmates may have a hard time after jail, despite wanting to move forward with their lives even after completing their sentence. 

Expungement is a way for former inmates to clean their records. With the expungement, a person will petition the courts to get the arrest record sealed. For those looking to move forward in their lives, expungement is a way to start off with a clear public record. However, the process can be tricky, time-consuming, and restrictive. To qualify for an expungement, you'll need to fit within a particular criteria. 

One of the main criteria of expungement involves the type of charges. For those who have committed serious or violent offenses, getting your record expunged is unlikely. Instead, the people most likely to qualify for expungement are those who have committed minor offenses. These minor offenses are going to be non-violent, low-level crimes, as there is no danger to the public in removing these records from the public.

You'll also need to consider the timeframe. To qualify for expungement, typically a certain amount of time must pass to be considered. Your criminal record must also remain clean during this time frame. Additional charges after the arrest will disqualify someone. This means for a current inmate, expungement will need to wait until after serving a sentence. But, for a former inmate, expungement may be a possibility. 

What is the process of getting an arrest expunged from your record? Even when a person fits the criteria for expungement, it's not an automatic guarantee that they will receive it. If you're looking to expunge your record, you'll need to complete the official process. For those who don't follow the process and heed all policies carefully, the expungement may not be granted. So, you'll want to pay attention to all rules and procedures to ensure that you have the best chance at getting your arrest record expunged. 

Why Would Someone Want an Arrest Record Expunged?

For people who have committed prior misdemeanors, there may be many reasons why they want to remove these charges from their public record. In recent years, multiple for-profit websites have sprouted online that display booking and arrest information, including mug shots. With a simple Google search, anyone may be able to find this information, including potential employers, landlords, and others. 

The Benefits of Expungement

There are many benefits of inmate expungement, which is why a lot of people are interested in the process for themselves. For instance, one of the main benefits of getting an arrest expunged from your record means that you won't need to disclose your conviction. So, when you're applying for a job, you won't need to disclose to your employers your previous conviction. 

Additionally, when your potential employers run a background check, your arrest won't show up in the information. This benefit is also helpful when applying for housing. Some landlords may be hesitant to rent to someone with an arrest record. With inmate expungement, they won't be able to access this sealed part of your record. For those who are struggling to find housing or employment after a minor offense, this process allows for a clear path forward. 

However, it's important to note that law enforcement and other public officials will have access to these records. So, in the case of suspected wrongdoing, a law enforcement officer will have access to these sealed records.

How Does Expungement Work?

For people looking to expunge an arrest from their record, going through the legal process may seem daunting. There are many rules and regulations for this process with no guarantee that things will go your way. Additionally, the expungement process is not a federal one, so all states may have slightly different ways of doing things. 

Where do you start? It's a good idea to begin the process with research. The process is state-specific, so you'll need to check with your local rules concerning expungement. Some states may require a person to serve papers on the district attorneys. Other states may require a person to submit legal paperwork directly to a judge and sit through a hearing, where the judge will determine whether the expungement is granted. 

But even with doing a lot of research for yourself, the legal process can be confusing and overwhelming. Because the rules and legal paperwork can be confusing and specific to local jurisdictions, you may want to enlist the help of an attorney. They can help determine if your record meets the eligibility requirements and also help you navigate the legal process.

Expungement provides a lot of benefits to those with an arrest record. However, going through the process is tricky, as there are strict criteria to get your records sealed. If you have a minor offense on your record and you wish to take it off, you may want to consider expungement. Hiring an attorney can be a big help when it comes to navigating the legal process. We discuss more information on specific jails and legal processes if you have more questions about expungement.