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What Is Expungement?

By Expert Author: Rachel Moore

If you have a criminal record, it can negatively impact your life in a variety of ways. For example, it will severely limit your choices for employment and options of where to live, and can even affect your ability to travel to other countries. In some states, those with criminal records are not allowed to exercise their right to vote, or to purchase firearms, even for the purposes of legal hunting.
If you find yourself being unfairly judged today because of a mistake in your past, you may want to seek to have your criminal records expunged. In most states, if you legally expunge your criminal records, they are treated as if they do not exist, and therefore will not appear if anyone runs a thorough background check on you.
States have a variety of policies surrounding record expungement. The first thing to check would be who can apply for expungement in your state. In many cases, this ability is limited to people with specific types of offenses. If you can apply for record expungement, you will be required to have completed any sentences and paid any fines issued by the judge for your previous offense, and have continued on from there without additional criminal incidents.
If you do not qualify for expungement, there may be other options in your state, such as seeking a pardon from the governor. Regardless of the situation you find yourself in, it is wise to seek the advice of an attorney, who can navigate you through this sometimes complicated process.

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