One of the worst parts of being prosecuted for a crime is the public nature of the proceeding. And if you are convicted, you have a criminal record that almost anyone can find. Many people struggle with re-entering society after an arrest or conviction and don’t know what to do.
Expungement might be the answer to your problems. Certain convictions and even arrests are eligible for expungement. Although the process might sound simple, the reality is that many issues can arise. Helpfully, Freeburg Law, LLC has created an expungement tool to help you decide whether you can request expungement. Our tool even generates the forms you will need if you decide to go ahead and apply. If you have questions or need assistance creating an application, contact us today. Our Wyoming expungement lawyers will help in any way we can.
What is Expungement?
Many people describe expungement as “erasing” a person’s criminal record. Of course, no documents are erased. It’s more accurate to say your criminal records are stored so that they are no longer accessible to the public. If someone contacts the police or court about you, your criminal history won’t be released.
Critically, some people will still have access to your record, including law enforcement. So no record gets burned in a drum, and computer hard drives and floppy discs aren’t smashed with a hammer. But for purposes of public access to your criminal history, the record will no longer exist.
Why Should You Request Expungement?
People have many different reasons for wanting convictions and/or arrests expunged. This is an individualized choice, and everyone has their own reasons. Some of the more common include the following:
1. Make it easier to get a job. Many employers pull a criminal background check on job applicants, and they might not hire you if you have a criminal record. Some employers have a hard “reject” for anyone with even a misdemeanor conviction. Other employers might be open to hiring you, depending on the charge. For example, if you have a conviction for theft, then they won’t hire you to work with money but they might let you work on a farm. Your employment prospects go way up if you can get a conviction expunged.
2. Rent an apartment without any hassle. Landlords also like to pull a background check on applicants, and few landlords are eager to rent to a convicted criminal. They might assume you hang with a rough crowd or will damage the property. No law prevents landlords from dinging your application because of a criminal record.
3. Protect your reputation. Many websites have popped up over the years offering background checks for a fee. Anyone with a credit card who is nosey enough could find out about your conviction. Why let people pre-judge you because of a mistake you made years ago?
4. Put the past in the past. One way of moving forward in life is to put the past firmly in the rearview mirror. Expunging a criminal record is one powerful way of cutting ties with your past life.
There are almost as many reasons to seek expungement as there are applicants. If this is something you want to do, Freeburg Law LLC offers a free tool you can use to create necessary forms.
Are There Any Wrong Reasons for Requesting an Expungement?
That’s hard to say. One poor reason is to try and expunge a criminal conviction that is ineligible for expungement. All you will do is waste time and money to end up having your request denied.
You also shouldn’t seek an expungement if you are trying to restore certain civil rights. For example, many felons lose the right to vote or legally possess a firearm after a conviction. Expunging your conviction does not restore many civil rights, which require a pardon from the Governor instead.
Do You Need to Disclose Convictions after Expungement?
In general, no. You no longer have a criminal record, and someone searching the police database or court records won’t find them. You can comfortably answer that you weren’t convicted or arrested once you get your record expunged.
Nevertheless, it really depends on who is asking. There might still be situations where you need to disclose even an expunged conviction. For example, the Wyoming Bar asks anyone applying for a law license to disclose all convictions, even if they were expunged. If you fail to disclose the requested information and the board finds out about it, they might deny you a license because of dishonesty.
Someone applying for a law enforcement job will also likely need to disclose even expunged records. Remember, the police will have access to your criminal history, so there is no benefit to denying you have a record.
You might also need to disclose if you are going through a divorce. A criminal history can matter in deciding what is in a child’s best interests when it comes to custody. The family law judge hearing your case will probably have access to your criminal history. As with the examples above, failing to disclose an expunged conviction could hurt your case.
Can You Expunge an Out-of-State Conviction?
Possibly. But you need to check the law in the state where you were arrested or convicted. If you have a conviction in Iowa court, then you need to request expungement in that state. Every state sets its own rules and procedures for expungement. A Wyoming court will only expunge a conviction in our state.
Can You Expunge a Federal Conviction?
Not likely. Expungement for federal offenses is available in only very limited circumstances.
Contact Our Law Office Today
The legal team at Freeburg Law has handled countless expungements for clients. We can advise whether this is the right option for you, or whether you should seek a pardon or some other form of post-conviction relief. You may also hire us to complete and file your paperwork. To find out more, please call our firm today to schedule a free consultation.