Can You Walk Me Through The Process Of Having A Record Expunged?
It’s a 3 part process. Part one is to apply to the Bureau of Criminal Identification for what’s called a Certificate of Eligibility. That application is available on the BCI website and it requires an application fee and fingerprints be taken in an official capacity and be submitted along with the application fee. That is the most time consuming bottleneck in the process. It takes between 4 to 12 weeks for the BCI to process that application. They will make a decision on the applicant’s eligibility and send their decision in a written correspondence either to the applicant or to my office if the applicant has authorized them to correspond with me about the application. From there, a person would purchase a certificate of eligibility from the BCI. It’s a notarized sealed and when I say sealed I mean stamped that has a raised seal on that certificate and that certificate is valid for 90 days.
It means that part two of the process has to be initiated within 90 days of the date of that certificate and that part two is petitioning the court for an order of expungement. Literally filing a lawsuit in the court asking the court to order that all government agencies expunge and remove the records of this arrest or conviction. Once that’s processed there may be a hearing involved but most of the times it’s rare and the court would issue an order of expungement. The third part of the process is to obtain certified copies of that expungement order and serve it on all the agencies involved including the Bureau of Criminal Identification so they can update their records. They report to the FBI. The law enforcement agencies so they can update their records, the prosecutor and all the other agencies that would be appropriate like the prison, the jail, the Driver’s License Division and any other government agencies that may have the record of the case.
What Is The Timeframe For The Entire Process Of Having A Record Expunged?
I tell people 2 to 6 months.
Can I Do Something If I am Not Eligible To Have My Record Expunged?
It depends on the reason why a person is not eligible. So if a person has too many disqualifying conditions. For instance the statute says that a person with 5 or more misdemeanor convictions not including traffic convictions is considered ineligible. A person in that situation may be able to pursue some reductions in the levels of conviction to get some of those misdemeanors down to infractions and make themselves eligible. So another example is that a person cannot have 2 or more Class A misdemeanors stemming from 2 or more criminal episode or 3 or more Class B misdemeanors stemming from 4 or more criminal episodes. Sometimes a person will come to me and they will have 3 Class A misdemeanors and 4 Class B misdemeanors and then we need to pursue reduction of those cases to basically put them into a position where they don’t have too many disqualifying conditions.
It’s a lot like lining up the tumblers a lot to get that door open in terms of getting the reduction, getting the As down to either Bs or Cs down to DS and we need to get a certain number of Ds down to infractions for instance. I’ve had very good success with that when people come to me with 10 or 12 or 15 or more convictions and by pursuing reductions we’ve been able to make them more eligible and to clean up their record entirely.
What Will Show In My Background Check If My Record Is Successfully Expunged?
Nothing. Not through any kind of government reporting agency.
Will I Ever Have To Say I Was Convicted Of a Crime If I Am Able To Have It Expunged?
Under the statute you are allowed, under a job application, for instance which is the most common way that people come across this to say that you’ve never been charged or convicted when it’s been expunged. The only time you would have to disclose that is if the application specifically requires disclosure even in the event of an expungement.
Why Should I Hire An Attorney That Has Experience With The Expungement Process As Opposed To Trying To Go It Alone Without An Attorney?
A person can certainly pursue an expungement without an attorney. It is not terribly complicated in terms of legal complexity. The complications basically come into play in terms of navigating the process and the mountain of paperwork that basically comes along with perfecting an expungement. A lot of times people will try it on their own and when they come to the second step of petitioning to court they realize that it’s really too much for them to manage and reach out to an attorney who has experience in filing paperwork with the court, serving the appropriate parties and making it go as quickly and as smoothly as possible.
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