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Can you have a normal life after criminal charges?

A criminal charge can have untold consequences in your life. Unfortunately, completing your sentence will not immediately put the whole experience behind you and out of everybody’s mind. Why? Because once you have been convicted of a crime, this conviction is added to a permanent record. One that might become available to people that can have an impact on the way your life develops in the future, such as employers, educational institutions in which you may consider studying, landlords of places where you may wish to live, and many others. You may also find that there are situations in which you must answer a question regarding your past conviction, like when you are applying for a job.

What information becomes part of my criminal record?

Your record includes quite a bit of information about you, including your age and where you live. Additionally, these items also become part of your record:

  • Your physical description including weight, height, and any identifying features such as birthmarks or tattoos
  • Any aliases you use now or have used in the past
  • Your fingerprints
  • Mugshots
  • Misdemeanor convictions
  • Felony arrests and convictions

Since a record is considered public information, several government agencies, businesses, educational institutions, as well as individuals can gain access to it.

How can you prevent your criminal record from following you for the rest of your life?

You need to have your criminal charge sealed, overturned, or expunged and you need to have an experienced lawyer to help you do this.

How can you get rid of a criminal record?

Depending on your case, you might be able to have a criminal record set aside or expunged. This does not mean, however, that the record will no longer be available to certain agencies. It does mean that it will no longer be available to the public.

What does expungement mean?

It means that you can legally state that you have not been convicted of that crime. Talk to your lawyer to find out if your conviction can be expunged since not all types of convictions are allowed to be set aside. These include:

  • Sex crimes
  • Child abuse
  • Domestic violence
  • Some assault charges
  • Felonies punishable by life in prison
How soon can you apply for an expungement?

To do this, you must wait at least five years from the date you were convicted, from your probation completion date, the date you were discharged from parole or your prison release date, whichever one of these happens last.

How is an expungement accomplished?

You must:

  • File the appropriate application with the court
  • Send copies to several interested parties
  • Attend a hearing
  • Convince the judge that you deserve to have your conviction expunged

All these are complex actions that must be carried out following the law to the letter. Do not attempt to tackle this yourself but get the advice and help of a criminal defense lawyer. Trying to do this on your own can result in your application being denied due to a technicality or because the arguments you presented were not strong enough to convince the judge

According to criminal defense lawyer Vikas Bajaj, you should do everything in your power to get your record sealed or expunged in order to be able to recover your life and your future.

Photo by Михаил Павленко on Unsplash

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