Having a criminal record expunged is an option for someone who was arrested and charged with a crime, but was not actually convicted. If you have multiple records from different courts you want to have expunged, it’s important to retain a skilled attorney who has some criminal defense experience. While you’re requesting to have your criminal record expunged, the process here is technically a civil one.
Examples of Circumstances that Allow for Expungements
There are a variety of situations that can allow for someone to request an expungement. Some of these include:
- A victim of identity theft
- Defendant in criminal case who plead not guilty and was later acquitted of all charges
- A criminal defendant where the prosecutor’s office opts not to prosecute which is called “nolle prosequi”
- A criminal case settled by an “accord and satisfaction” or payment of money to a crime victim in exchange for dismissal of the charge
It’s important to note that while you may be eligible for expungement, it’s not an automatic process. There are situations where the prosecutor could object, which means a judge will make the determination on whether the expungement proceeds. Unless the prosecutor puts forth a valid case on why it shouldn’t be expunged, most first-time defendants requesting an expungement on a misdemeanor will find the judge will typically approve it. If you have a felony or multiple charges on record, it’s a much more difficult process to convince a judge that the records should be expunged.
How the Expungement Process Works
Basically, you need to bring a court action by filing a petition in the court where the charges originated. You’ll need to get certified copies of pertinent documents, like the warrant, court disposition, and specific documents on each of the charges you’re hoping to get expunged. Once the documents are filed, you’ll need to take a copy of the petition to the local police station and get a criminal history report along with a set of fingerprints. Once the court has received your criminal history report, they will schedule a hearing. You’ll need to appear in court with all your documentation to explain why you are entitled to an expungement.
Contact an Attorney
If you are unsure whether you qualify for an expungement or not, it’s important to work with a Leesburg criminal defense attorney who can advise what the best course of action is. Contact our team here at WhitbeckBennett by calling 800-516-3964 today to schedule a consultation.