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A New Law May Lead To An Automatic Expunging Of Your Criminal Records

by Layla Bryant

In the past, if you wanted to have your criminal record expunged you needed to file with the help of an expungement attorney, regardless of whether you were expunging felonies or misdemeanors. However, with the various clean slate bills that have been passed in multiple states, certain crimes can now be expunged automatically. You will want to consult with an expungement attorney to determine if you qualify.

The Impact of Expungement on Your Criminal Record

When your records are expunged, they will be sealed and will not be accessible to the public. This means that the record will not have an impact on your ability to rent a home, immigrate, or find a job. 

How the Automatic Expungement Works

Misdemeanors and felonies will automatically be expunged after a certain number of years. However, regardless of whether your records will be expunged automatically, you must consult with an expungement attorney who can help you understand your case. For example, some states, such as Pennsylvania, require that all court fines and fees be paid before records can be expunged.

When You Cannot Expunge a Criminal Record

In some circumstances, your records might not be expunged automatically. For example, violent crimes might not be expunged from your records if they involve great bodily harm or death. Other crimes that cannot be expunged include:

  • Crimes against children
  • Sex crimes
  • Embezzlement
  • DWIs

A DWI is a crime in which you are driving while intoxicated and includes both drug and alcohol use. Even if it is your first sentence, a DWI will remain on your criminal records. However, you may be able to have any of these charges expunged if you were not convicted.

Expungement of Records Without a Conviction

If you were not convicted of the crime, it may still remain on your records. However, you may be able to have this expunged from your records with the help of an expungement attorney. 

The Effects of Expunging Your Records

After you have had your records expunged, you will be allowed to answer "no" when you are asked by an employer or property manager of whether you have ever been convicted of a crime. Agencies that collect data, such as credit reporting agencies, cannot factor the crime reports into their data.

Make Sure That the Law is Already in Effect

Some clean slate bills aren't in effect yet, such as the Michigan Clean Slate Bill. While your records cannot be automatically expunged until the law goes into effect, an expungement attorney can help you seal your records manually by filing a request to expunge your records.

For more information, contact an expungement attorney in your area.