You’re probably aware that criminal charges carry major consequences. Did you also know that an arrest’s negative effects might include far more than costly fines and time behind bars?
A criminal history could affect your chances of being admitted to college and might make finding housing difficult as well. Plus, problems with the police could restrict your job prospects.
Neither “permanent” nor “public” are necessarily set in stone
Depending on your circumstances, protecting your future from your past may be a possibility. For example, a court may expunge a misdemeanor conviction if you meet certain qualifications.
Are you eligible for a second chance?
That depends on your current situation. Before you petition a court for an expungement, think about whether:
- You have any pending charges
- At least five years have passed since your conviction
- You’ve had no further criminal convictions
- Driver’s license suspension is not an issue
Additionally, have you completed your previous court orders? Your obligations may include a prison sentence and supervised release.
Arrested, but not convicted
No matter the result, reports of trouble with the law can be challenging if they’re not erased.
An arrest could raise caution flags about your background, so you may want to explore your options even if you weren’t found guilty of committing a crime. The same goes for appealed convictions that were resolved in your favor.
People – and behavior – can change
It’s important to remember that everyone makes mistakes. And in terms of problems with the law, multiple factors could influence a court’s decision about your activities. But those rulings don’t need to affect you forever.
You have the right to see whether a sealed record is possible in your case. If so, get ready for the good that may come from getting a second lease on life.